Care experienced students

Student at a cafe

We're here to help

The widening participation staff support all care experienced students, estranged students and student carers. During your time at university as a widening participation student you are entitled to a range of support from the University to help you succeed regardless of your circumstances.

Why additional support is offered

We recognise that starting a course at university and moving to a new place can be exciting, but also worrying, and unsettling. You may find you have a mass of new information and procedures to deal with and feel overwhelmed.

We also recognise that you have lived experiences that other students might not and when applying to and starting university you may face particular challenges throughout your studies that your peers are less likely to experience. This may be due to complex personal lives and a lack of networks providing financial, social, and emotional support.

The number of care experienced people attending university is on the rise and we recognise you have some unique challenges and that is why the university has developed a holistic support package.

What does the term 'Care Experienced' mean?

The term care-experienced refers to anyone who has been or is currently in care or from a looked-after background at any stage in their life, no matter how short, including adopted children who were previously looked-after.

Care may have been provided in one of many different settings such as:

  • foster care - living with foster carers
  • kinship care - living with a family member who is not your mum or dad
  • residential care - living in a residential unit
  • secure care – living in a residential unit
  • looked after at home with the help of social work
  • adopted

How do I tell you I am, or think I could be, care experienced?

We will not necessarily know you are care experienced unless you let us know.

We therefore encourage students to let us know if you think they may be care experienced.

To let us know please complete the Point of Contact Registration Form. You will be asked to provide one of the following supporting documents to confirm your experience of care once you have submitted the completed registration form:

  • SAAS Care Experienced Bursary award letter for the current academic year
  • Supporting statement from the Local Authority who looked after you
  • A letter from any charity, trust or external agency that are also supporting you (e.g., Who Cares? Scotland)
  • Any court/legal papers that document your kinship care agreement

Once we know, we will support you throughout your time at university in our role as a Corporate Parent. We are aware that you may have continuing challenges that impact your engagement and participation in student life and we provide a single point of contact for you to email or meet up with.

Letting us know also ensures that you receive the £500 Care Experienced Bursary as well as regular updates on the support available to you.

If you would like assistance or further information about the Point of Contact Registration Form, please email

What support is available?

Our aim, as a corporate parent, is to provide advice and guidance to help care experienced students through the application process and to provide advice and support once you join our university community.

We offer pre-entry visits for students who are care experienced as well as a programme of supported transition to university. If you are interested in finding out more about this, please contact the Student Services Hub at

External care experience support agencies

The following organisations offer information and support, and it is worth checking what each may be able to offer you:

The Why Not Trust

The Why Not Trust exists to promote, offer and support meaningful relationships for people who have experience of care.  

The Wee Campus is an online digital community developed and co-designed with students who have experience of care to be a safe place to engage, share experiences, advise, find information, and encourage others through their higher education journey.

We are open to all and believe everyone wants to be the best they can be, wants to be there for others, and with the right support can excel.

Confidentiality and Data Sharing

We respect the privacy of everyone who uses our University Support Services. Take a closer look at our full documentation on Confidentiality and Data Sharing.

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