The transition into higher education can be daunting for anyone, but being a care experienced student can present its own set of challenges. Rest assured, there’s lots of support you can access here at Aston University to support your journey into university and beyond.

Support for Care Experienced Students

We're committed to providing support and advice throughout your university journey via the Student Advice Team at The Hub. We have a range of different ways to support you should you need it whilst studying with us. This could include finance, accommodation, and other support services. You might also be eligible for the Aston Support Scholarship or Moving On grant.

We define a care experienced student as an individual who has spent time in local authority care. We would need applicants to declare that they are a care leaver on their UCAS form. We would normally also expect the applicant’s referee to confirm that the applicant is a care leaver. 

When making your application to any university, we strongly recommend that you tick the ‘care experienced’ tick-box on your UCAS application. This will help identify you to the relevant staff at your university choices, who will then send you information about the support they can offer you. You can find out more about the care experienced tick-box here

If you apply to Aston and indicate you have experience of being in care on your UCAS form, our team will contact you outlining the support that is available to you. When making your application to any university, we strongly recommend that you tick the box on your UCAS application. This will help identify you to the relevant staff who will then send you information about the support they can offer.

Contact Us

If you have any pre-entry enquiries, please email careleavers or outreach. You can also call the team on 0121 204 4007.

Contextual Offer - Aston Ready Scheme

If you have spent time in local authority care, you may qualify for our Aston Ready contextual offer scheme that could reduce your undergraduate offer by one or two grades. Assessed at the point of application, there are no additional forms to fill in. To qualify, you will need to declare that you are a care leaver on your UCAS application form. We would normally also expect your applicant referee to confirm that you are a care leaver. For more information about our Aston Ready Contextual Offer, please visit our website or email our admissions team at ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk   

Student Support and Change

Attending university is a big step. It can take time to settle into your new life and it's normal to experience a wide range of conflicting emotions, from excitement to fear. The Student Advice Team, based in The Hub, have lots of experience of providing assistance, advice, and guidance to support students' studies and beyond.

Our counselling service offers qualified counsellors/psychotherapy practitioners and those in training to support you during your time at university. At a time of significant change, doing even the simplest of tasks or making what used to feel like straightforward decisions can suddenly feel overwhelming. Whether you're just embarking on university life or you're further along with your studies, we can help work through whatever's troubling you.


Students can also access academic support and guidance from the Learning Development Centre. You can attend workshops and receive one-to-one support with a Learning Development Adviser on a range of topics. 

Aston Student Union

Relax and have fun with people who share similar interests! Aston Students' Union provides many opportunities for this through their student clubs and societies including the Aston LGBT+, Aston Fitness Club and Aston Live Music Society to name just a few. 

The Student Union can also provide students with professional, independent, free and confidential advice and representation. More information about Aston Student Advice can be found here or via advice@aston.ac.uk or by calling 0121 204 4848.

Transitioning from school/college to university

When applying to university, forward planning is extremely important, especially to ensure that you get the appropriate funding and support available to you as early as possible. It is important that you discuss your post sixth form or college plans with your support worker to ensure that the local authority can support with the next step of your journey.

Become’s Propel website also shows what support each university offers care experienced students. Their ‘helping you reach higher factsheet’ outlines the support care experienced students are entitled to at all stages of the application and time at university.

We also encourage you to attend care leavers events which are specifically designed for care experienced students. For local students, Aimhigher West Midlands has created an exciting new programme of events for learners currently or previously in care to give them the chance to learn more about higher education. 

You can also contact the single point of contact for care experienced students at Aston University by emailing outreach@aston.ac.uk or careleavers@aston.ac.uk for any support and guidance, including support with your personal statement, plans to visit campus, or applying to Student Finance.

Top tip: Don't forget to read the Charlie Waller student guide for care leavers about making the transition to university to make sure you are fully informed about the transition into higher education.

Hear from our Students

Hear from our current care leaver students about their experience of coming to university and the support they received.

Our Students' Stories

Applying for Student Finance

You can apply to Student Finance England (or the equivalent awarding body in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland) for financial support with your tuition fees and living costs. 

Tuition Fee Loans: These loans are paid directly to your university.

Maintenance Loans: These loans are usually means-tested (based on household income) and are paid to you.

To apply for financial support as a Care Leaver, you will need to complete an online application form and apply as an ‘Independent Student’. Your local authority (usually a Personal Adviser or Social Worker) will need to provide a letter to support your application. Should Student Finance approve your application, your ‘household income’ will usually be assessed as £0 and you will usually be awarded the maximum maintenance loan for the duration of your undergraduate course.

Students may also be eligible for an annual bursary from the local authority. The Care Leaver Offer website shows what support care experienced students can expect from their local authority, and you can compare this to what's available elsewhere in the UK as well.

There is more information about how to apply to Student Finance England as a Care Leaver online here.

For more information about Student Finance, please go to:

UCAS: Tuition Fees & Student Loans

Student Finance England 

Student Finance information for Care Leavers

• Student Finance information for Estranged Students

Top tip: Make sure any financial support you receive from your local authority is confirmed in writing and you have a copy of this document when you start university as some universities will need to see this document.

Accommodation

Care leavers get priority rooms under our Aston University accommodation allocation policy. Where possible, we also help care leavers apply for accommodation without needing a guarantor to support their application. 

What is a guarantor? 

A guarantor is someone over the age of 25 who takes joint financial responsibility for your tenancy. If you are unable to pay, it is your guarantor's responsibility to do so. Your guarantor will be listed in the tenancy agreement and also has to accept their own agreement. 

For more information and frequently asked questions about Aston University’s accommodation, please visit our dedicated accommodation pages here.

If you have any further questions, please email accommodation or call us on 0121 204 3618.

The Green Accommodation

Did you know you could also apply to live at The Green student accommodation which is our student residence managed by our Students' Union. All of the apartments at The Green are suitably furnished, have full double-glazing, a bathroom including baths with a shower and spacious living space for socialising or studying. Similar to other student residences there is an onsite pay as you go laundry, FREE high-speed Wi-Fi (for up to eight devices) and the area is monitored by CCTV with good lighting. In addition, unlike other student residences, there is FREE on street parking available to all residents as well as having your own post box, so any post or online orders come straight to your front door.

Key points of interest:

  • Similar to Aston University accommodation, no guarantor is needed for these tenancies.
  • This accommodation is offered to students who may need to consider a lower budget
  • All bills and WIFI is included with an addition of a monthly allocation of laundrette tokens
  • Aston students only.
  • Allocated in single gender flats with students from a similar background where possible.
  • Usually 48/52-week contracts from September to August each academic year.

Any further questions don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Top tip: Remember, where possible, apply for accommodation that allows you to stay over the holiday periods. Many universities offer 365-day accommodation for care experienced students or where this isn't possible, financial support to help with extra costs, so check what is available before you apply.

If you are not planning on moving away from home, speak to your local authority about access to suitable housing if needed.

Useful Resources

UCAS Undergraduate Support for Care Leavers

If you are in care, or have experience of being in care in the past, there's lots of support available in higher education to help you with finance, accommodation, and settling in.

National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL)

Higher Education Activities and Resources for Care Leavers, Children in Care and Those Who Support Them.

Propel

Fully searchable website providing care leavers with information on the support available to them from colleges and universities offering higher education courses across the UK.

The Rees Foundation

A lifelong support network that offers help and advice to care experienced individuals about any concerns. Rees run numerous projects to encourage personal development and soft skills, financial support within higher education, and career support. Students can also apply for a free Rees café card to use in West Midlands based cafes e.g. Evolve Birmingham, YMCA West Brom, St Peter and Hub for Grub in Wolverhampton.

Care Leaver Local Offer

You can now search for support offered by individual local authorities at Care Leaver Local Offer.

Coram Voice

Coram Voice will help you get your voice heard, tell you about your rights, and give you support such as access to a social worker.

Partners