Care leavers: What support we offer, University of Leeds

At the University of Leeds we are proud that the number of care experienced students registering to study with us has increased in recent years and we are passionate about supporting their education and experience. We understand that there are various barriers to entering higher education for students who have experienced time in care and we want to support them to not only access higher education, but to succeed and progress into future study or their desired career area.  

The Plus Programme 

The Plus Programme is an on-course support programme that all care experienced students (including those who have been in kinship care) are invited to join and can access right up until they graduate.

The Plus Programme team supports various groups of students, outlined in the university’s Access and Participation Plan and Access and Success Strategy, including care experienced and estranged students.  

We offer a wide range of funded activities and support to these students, including: 

  • Transitional activity in the summer prior to starting at Leeds, to prepare for university life  
  • Social activities such as bowling, climbing, quizzes and crafting  
  • Informative workshops, covering topics such as finding housing, budgeting and finding part time work  
  • Careers and employability events, mentoring, one to one support and insight days 

We strongly believe that care experienced students should be able to access the whole university experience, and therefore provide financial support to break down barriers to accessing various extracurricular experiences. These include support with club and society costs and additional funding for students to spend their summer holidays studying or volunteering abroad. Our Opportunities Fund has also provided many students with support to access work placements, internships and interviews through funding travel, accommodation and smart clothing costs.

Dedicated support 

The University of Leeds has a dedicated contact for care experienced students (both prospective and current) within the Plus Programme team, who can support them with information, signposting, help with student finance forms, accommodation and more. The team organises termly group social catch ups with these students as well as offering drop-in support both in person and virtually. 

We encourage any care experienced applicant to apply for our Means Tested Scholarship, worth £9,000 over three years, to support their living costs. Perhaps the most impactful change we have made for undergraduate care experienced students is the introduction of a brand new care experienced and estranged student bursary. This funding is worth an additional £2,000 per year and works as a top-up to the means-tested scholarship or the Leeds Bursary.

We can also offer year round accommodation and our university Accommodation Team are happy to discuss individual needs of care experienced students. On starting their course at Leeds, students living in our accommodation will also be offered a £50 voucher to help them settle in.  

At Leeds we understand that finishing university and making the next step can sometimes be challenging for care experienced students, therefore we offer graduation support in the form of a cash payment, a dedicated careers advisor and regular communications in the run up to graduation. Finally, we also encourage any care experienced students who are interested in postgraduate study, to apply for our Leeds Masters Scholarship 

Further information 

For more information about The Plus Programme, please visit our web pages. 

To get in touch with our dedicated care experienced student contact, please email