Care leavers and estranged students

Page last updated:
27 Jan 2023

At Leeds Beckett we are committed to supporting students who are care leavers or estranged from their families. We want you to get the best out of your course, fulfil your potential and enjoy your university experience.

Please have a look through the information on this page, it tells you more about the support and opportunities available to you before you arrive and during your time with us.

What does care leaver or estranged student mean?

Care leavers

A care leaver is a young person aged 16-25 years old who has spent time living in the care system, away from family. Sometimes the term ‘care experienced’ is used as well – this refers to anyone who has been in a setting away from family at any stage of their life, no matter how short. This also includes adopted children who were previously looked after.

Estranged students

Estranged students are young people studying without the support and approval of a family network. Young people in this position often have no contact at all with their family and have removed themselves from a dysfunctional situation.

If you have recently become estranged from family, please do get in touch with us to discuss how we can support you.

If you are unsure if you are eligible for support under these terms, please get in touch with our team and we can discuss this with you.

Support for you

From the moment you apply to join us at Leeds Beckett, right through to your graduation and beyond there's lots of support on offer to help you get the most out of your experience.

Support before your arrive

We fully recognise that as a care experienced or estranged young person coming to university for the first time that you may have a number of questions and concerns.

You can contact us for support as early as you would like, even before you apply to our university. We can talk to you about life at university and answer any questions you might have.

If you can provide evidence that you are a care leaver or irreconcilably estranged from your family, you may be able to apply for a bursary of up to £1,500 from our university and also access our Leeds Beckett Hardship Funds for every year of your course.

For further information about this, please visit our Bursaries and Scholarships web page. Applicants will need to book either a face-to-face or telephone appointment to go through the application process.

To book an appointment with a member of the team, please visit MyHub.

If you are a care leaver or estranged student and decide to stay in university halls of residence, we will guarantee that you have access to this university accommodation for 365 days a year. Please note that only certain properties that are managed by our university are applicable for 365-day contracts. For further information please contact the Accommodation Office. 

Support when you join us

Starting university can be a daunting time, and we want to make sure it’s as smooth as possible for you. Where possible, we will be in touch with you before you arrive and continuing onwards for as long as you need, helping you to make the most of your time at university and complete your course successfully.

We have dedicated members of staff who will be a first point of contact for all your Library and Student IT needs. We have a specialist page where you can find resources and information that can help you throughout your studies.

Students can access a range of practical and emotional support through our Student Wellbeing team. The team is made up of counsellors and mental health practitioners who are skilled and experienced in recognising how emotional and mental health difficulties can affect your time whilst at university.

You can make the most of our facilities at City and Headingley Campus with a free student membership. Your Active Beckett membership provides access to the gym, swimming pool, athletics track and fitness classes.

Our Careers team offers support and advice, as well as help finding opportunities for part-time work and placements. We work closely with them to offer dedicated support for graduate employment planning which begins at Level 5 and is available for up to five years after graduation.

Staying in Leeds Beckett managed halls of residence? Speak to our Residence Life team – they can help you get settled in and can set you up with another student who is also staying in halls for peer support. They also put on activities and events over the holidays for any students staying.

Support whilst you're here

Students can contact our Student Advice Team to discuss anything they have concerns about or if they need help connecting with a support service. You can email  studentadvice@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.

Students who have queries about the Care Leaver and Estranged Student Bursary can contact Sam, our Bursary and Scholarships Officer, at cle@leedsbeckett.ac.uk



Course administrator

If you have a question or a problem relating to your course, your course administrator is there to help you. You can find their details in your course handbook.

Academic adviser

If you need support with the content of your course or how to get the most out of your learning experience, you can speak with your academic adviser. You’ll be made aware of who your adviser is at the start of the year, but your course administrator can also look them up for you.

LBU Halls of Residence

The Residence Life team can support you with accommodation-based queries and concerns. Whether you’re having problems with flatmates, finding it hard to adjust to your new setting or just want to meet a friendly face for a chat, the team are available for you. They are available to meet with you, either in their offices on City Campus or at the following halls: Arena Village, Carnegie Village, Kirkstall Brewery and Marsden House.

Private accommodation

The Students’ Union Advice Service can advise on a variety of issues with private housing, including problems with your landlord, understanding your tenancy contract and house hunting. You can email them at suadvice@leedsbeckett.ac.uk or complete their online form.

You can access the Careers pages on MyHub to view lots of helpful resources on preparing for job applications, such as a CV checker and templates, interview simulator and subject-specific resources. You can speak with careers advisers when you need some help thinking about your future or applying for competitive graduate schemes. The team also help to organise lots of events and opportunities for students to boost their employability and find their dream career.

Student Wellbeing team

The Student Wellbeing team is a multidisciplinary team made up of counsellors and mental health practitioners who are skilled and experienced in recognising how emotional and mental health difficulties can affect your time whilst at university. This includes when things are overwhelming or when you’re not really sure what you’re going through. They provide a free and confidential service which you can access by completing their online registration form. 

Sport and Active Lifestyles

If you are a care leaver or estranged student, you may be eligible for a free Leeds Beckett Sport membership. This will grant you access to our facilities, including the gym, whilst you’re a student with us. You can see what is included in your membership and lots of other opportunities that Sport and Active Lifestyles provide on their web pages.

If you have any questions please email us at cle@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.

Our money advisers can help you when you have questions or concerns about your finances. They offer advice about student funding, benefits, budgeting and debt. You’ll find lots more information in our dedicated financial support section below.

After you graduate

All Leeds Beckett graduates will continue to have access to our careers support for five years from their graduation. You will be able to view job opportunities and events, and get support from our careers advisers.

Log into MyHub to access all your graduate careers support.

As an alumni you’ll be invited to join Beckett Connect where you can attend networking events with other graduates and stay connected with the Leeds Beckett community.

Financial support

Undergraduate students can apply to Student Finance England for a Tuition Fee Loan to cover the costs of study and a Maintenance Loan for general living costs. As a care leaver you will need to provide a letter from your local authority to confirm your previous care arrangements.

Estranged students will need to complete a declaration of estrangement form each year and provide evidence of their estrangement each year, unless they have been granted estrangement status for the duration of their course.

Students can provide any of the following documents as supporting evidence of estrangement:

  • Letter from supported housing provider
  • Prison service letter for family member
  • Letter from teachers, GP, dentist or tutors
  • Letter from legal professional
  • Letter from university tutor or student services adviser
  • Benefits documents – if claimed before 18

Leeds Beckett Care Leaver and Estranged Student Bursary

This bursary is intended to assist undergraduate students who are leaving care to attend university, students who have been living independently since leaving care or students estranged from their family.

The amount payable each year (subject to you meeting the criteria each year) would be £1,000 at Level 4, £1,500 at Level 5 and £1,000 at Level 6. Payment will usually be made in two instalments (November and February). You will need to be fully enrolled on a full-time undergraduate course. Applications can be submitted through our website.

Hardship Fund

If you fall into financial hardship or anticipate financial hardship and other funds are not available to meet essential living costs, you can apply for a non-repayable award from our Hardship Fund.

If you cannot meet day-to-day living costs such as rent, food, bills etc, because you have lost income or cannot get part-time work or have relied on family support which has now reduced, you can apply for a means-tested award of between £100 and £3,500.

Please note that awards from the Hardship Fund are not guaranteed and assessments are based on the applicant’s income and expenditure.

Applications can be submitted through our website.

DAF

We have established a dedicated fund to provide financial support towards a Windows or Apple laptop. You must have applied for all student funding available to you (including the Maintenance and Tuition Fee Loans, any grants from the Student Loans Company and any postgraduate loans) before you can apply to the fund. If you are an undergraduate student, you must be studying on a course that is eligible for statutory student funding. Once you apply, we will assess your financial ability to purchase a laptop and will take into account your household income and your own personal finances.

If you are studying an undergraduate course you will need to demonstrate your household income through your means-tested student loan. If you are an undergraduate student and have not been means tested by the Student Loans Company, you will need to tell us why on your application.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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Yes, we are happy to have conversations with any supporting staff, please get in touch via our email with any questions or to arrange a call.

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If you have recently become estranged, please do get in touch with us via our email address. A staff member can discuss your circumstances with you and talk through the next steps.

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Get in touch with us – even if you’re not receiving support from Student Finance we may still be able to help.

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Yes, we’re here to help no matter your experience. Get in touch to discuss what we can do for your individual circumstances.

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We will use the data included on your student funding application, or the information provided to us when you completed your online enrolment. If you have indicated that you have been in, or are leaving, Local Authority care, or that you are estranged from your family, we will contact you prior to arrival to make you aware of what’s available to you and advise of possible eligibility for our bursary. If you did not tick the relevant box on the UCAS application form or during online enrolment, then you can get in touch with us to discuss how we can help and eligibility for the bursary.

Contact us

If you have any questions about studying at Leeds Beckett or are an existing student wanting to access support and opportunities, please get in touch. We’re here to help you to navigate the range of support and opportunities available to you so you can get the degree and experience you deserve. (Bursary queries: bursaryandscholarship@leedsbeckett.ac.uk)

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