Young people who have experience of care should be able to aim high and fulfil their potential. This might include going to college or university. When applying to study via UCAS, young people with care experience should tick the box to say that they have spent time in care, so they can get the support they may need, to help them enter and thrive at college or university.

What’s the problem?

Applicants must ‘Tick the Box’ on their UCAS form to say they have experience of care so that universities and colleges know that they are entitled to support, but the number of young people ticking the box isn’t as high as it should be.

Young people who have experience of care are not always accessing the support available to them when applying to higher and further education and once they are studying. Some young people have told us that they are concerned about who the information will be shared with. If young people tick the box, this information will only be shared with the people who need to know to support them.

The Fostering Network believes that too many care experienced young people are missing out on support, and we want to change that.

What support is available?

The support on offer will be different at every college and university, and can range from additional financial support, in the form of a bursary, to practical support to help care leavers settle in, find accommodation or manage finances.

Some universities will take care-experience into account when making an offer. This is called a contextualised or adjusted offer, and is often a grade or two lower than a standard offer. Each university has a different applications process, which they will explain on their website.

Colleges and universities will treat the information about care-experience as confidential and will not label or negatively discriminate against a student because they have been looked-after.

Scottish students who are care experienced can also apply for additional financial support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS).

There is more information available on the Propel website.

Kelly ticked the box when she applied to study sociology at the University of Sunderland. The support she received was vital to helping her succeed in her undergraduate degree and she's now gone on to achieve a Masters degree.

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