Learn with Care to Go Higher: Accommodation support for care-experienced students

For care-experienced students, some aspects of Higher Education (HE) come with more pressure than their peers. One of the key concerns is that some young people will not be able to rely on somewhere to stay during holidays and breaks from education. For some students, their foster carers can offer a place to stay, but this is not the case for others. 

Finding a home during HE can really help with stability for care-experienced students. Research shows a strong correlation between fully funded accommodation and increased academic success and progression.  

It can be challenging to find out what accommodation support is available and how it can meet the needs of care-experienced students. Many HE providers do, however, offer 365-day accommodation.  

Go Higher West Yorkshire’s (GHWY) produces a collaborative Care-Leaver Covenant, in which our 13 members make commitments to support care-experienced students. All our members that own their own accommodation offer 365-day accommodation to alleviate uncertainty over where to stay during holidays. 

As well as year-round accommodation, some providers offer additional help to make students feel more comfortable. Some providers, for instance, offer welcome packs for care-experienced students in their accommodation. The contents vary from bedding to kitchen equipment and other things that students not from care backgrounds may have brought from home.  

Some HE providers can also offer different accommodation types to make students more comfortable. These can include LGBT+ accommodation, single-sex accommodation, or even alcohol-free accommodation. These different options can help students for many reasons, including religious or cultural, as well as personal preference. 

Not only does GHWY hope to see increased accommodation options for care-experienced students, but other organisations do too. Some local authorities can offer financial support towards accommodation for care-experienced students, as can some charities such as the Unite Foundation via its scholarship. 

Given this information, it is clear that making the most of the support available can help care-experienced students to reach their potential.