Care leavers

UCL is committed to supporting young people in care and those who have left a care environment, and we encourage students to apply to study at UCL and access the support available.

UCL recognises that when applying and entering higher education young people in care can face particular difficulties that their peers are less likely to experience. This guidance explains some of the specific help avaible to you if you are a care leaver or have experienced living in a care environment at some point in your life. We are committed to supporting students who come from a care leaving background while they’re at UCL and through our wide range of outreach activities.

We encourage you to access our activities and are also happy to arrange a visit to the UCL campus for care leavers. We can also arrange to talk about various aspects of university to groups off campus. If you are interested in arranging this, please contact Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW). 

On this page:

Personal support

When you arrive at UCL, your department will assign you to a Personal Tutor. Their main role is to advise you on academic matters, but you can also discuss non-academic matters with them in confidence. Normally, you will meet with your Personal Tutor once a term but you can also see them on an appointment basis.

If you're a research student, your supervisory team will fulfil much the same function as a Personal Tutor.

Find out more about Personal Tutors.

In addition to your Personal Tutor, Natalie Humphrey (Head of Student Support and Wellbeing - Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing) is Student Support and Wellbeing's named first point of contact for care experienced students. Natalie is able to put you in direct contact with relevant support services at UCL. You can contact Natalie on +44 (0)20 7679 0100, by email or through the askUCL student enquiries system

UCL’s Transition Programme supports all new first-year undergraduate students in adapting to university life, assisting new students in dealing with the social, academic and personal issues that are specific to UCL. As a first-year student, you’ll be allocated a Transition Mentor, a second- or third-year student from your department of study. They will introduce themselves to you in your first week and mentor you during your first term, as you settle into university life in London.

Find out more about the Transition Programme.

Financial support

The sources of support listed here, other than the Financial Assistance Fund, are for undergraduate students only.

Find out more about general student funding

Care Leaver Bursary

As well as being entitled to access the full range of general finance opportunities, such as student loans for fees and living costs, UCL offers a Care Leaver Bursary of £1,000 per year to eligible care experienced students.

Find out more about the Care Leaver Bursary

UCL Undergraduate Bursary

UCL provides a Undergraduate Bursary for students who meet the eligibility requirements. UCL will automatically assess your eligibility for this household income-assessed scheme and can award up to £2,500 per year for the duration for the programme at UCL.

Find out more about the UCL Undergraduate Bursary.

Unite Foundation Scholarship

A separate scholarship is available from Unite. This scheme offers scholars free accommodation at UCL for 3 years (for 365 days of the year) in a designated Unite Students property. 

Find out more about the Unite Foundation Scholarship.

Financial Assistance Fund 

Students in financial need may be able to access the Financial Assistance Fund. This is discretionary assistance for current UCL students who find themselves in unexpected financial difficulty.

Find out more about the Financial Assistance Fund.


UCL will provide 365-day accommodation for care leavers in their first year and, if needed, 365-day accommodation will also be provided for subsequent years of study.

If you need 365-day accommodation and/or accommodation beyond your first year at UCL, please contact Natalie Humphrey (designated contact at UCL for care leavers) on +44 (0)20 7679 0100, by email or through the askUCL student enquiries system

After your first year, if you have no outstanding debt to the university and are planning to live with UCL students, then UCL can act as your guarantor if you need us to. Just email the Guarantor Scheme (rent.guarantee@ucl.ac.uk) to enquire and request an application form.

Care Experienced and Estranged Students’ Guide  

Information for UCL students and applicants who are care leavers or estranged from family.

Please note that this guide was correct at time of publishing in December 2018.


Further information


Become is a charitable organisation who provides support for young people in care and care leavers.

Find out more about Become.

Buttle UK 

Buttle UK is a charitable organisation providing grant aid to vulnerable young people to provide the best possible opportunity in meeting their educational needs.

Find out more about Buttle UK.