Care leavers – funding

Plan your finances

It's important that you know how you'll finance yourself through your studies. As a care leaver there are a number of additional financing options open to you. There is information on this page about:

  • University of Plymouth bursaries and other funding options
  • Local authority support
  • Student Finance England
  • University of Plymouth's Financial Support Fund (FSF).
  • £200 welcome voucher.

University of Plymouth bursaries and other funding options

If you are experiencing financial difficulties there are a variety of bursaries and funds available to you, either directly through the University of Plymouth or partner organisations. See our ‘Bursaries and other funding options’ page for more information.

Find out more about funding options

Local authority support

If you're a care leaver entering higher education on or after 1 September 2008, and you're starting a course before your 25th birthday, you may be entitled to a non-taxable £2,000 bursary from your local authority.

In England, local authorities have a duty to pay the bursary if you're a care leaver pursuing a course of higher education according to your pathway plan. The study can be either full or part time.

You're entitled to this support if you're a care leaver up to the age of 21. If you're over 21 but under 25 you could also be entitled, if on reaching the age of 21, you're still being helped by your local authority with an agreed programme of education or training.

This is not part of the student finance package provided by Student Finance England and it's disregarded when calculating entitlement to student grants and loans. Any care leaver bursaries available from universities are in addition to local authority support.

To apply, you should contact your pathway planner at your local authority. Or we can ask on your behalf. You should ask about the bursary and also whether there is any additional support for care leavers from your local authority. If you're eligible, make sure you have this agreed in writing as soon as possible. We can help if you need support with this.

For more information on what each local authority provides to care leavers progressing to higher education take a look at our local authority support information and this page from Coram Voice is useful to check what you are eligible for.

Student Finance England

You're eligible for support from the government via Student Finance England (SFE). This could include a: 

  • tuition fee loan
  • maintenance loan.

Visit to apply online as soon as possible.

As a care leaver, you should be assessed as an independent student. Your parents’ or carers’ finances should not be assessed, even if you live with them. You'll need to state that you're a care leaver, and therefore an independent student, on your student finance application and provide the relevant evidence of your status. This care leaver factsheet from SFE tells you more about the support that you may be entitled to.

By providing this evidence, you'll be assessed for the maintenance loan. As an independent student, only the income of any partner you live with will be considered when assessing how much maintenance loan you're entitled to. Contact us if you're unsure whose income should be assessed, or have any problems or concerns with your student finance.

University of Plymouth's Financial Support Fund (FSF)

This fund is open to you if you're suffering significant hardship through no fault of your own. Any money awarded is non repayable and applications are accepted from 1 October.

To find out more and apply visit the Financial Support Fund (FSF) page. We're happy to help you fill in the application form – just contact us.

£200 welcome voucher

Subject to eligibility, a £200 Wilko voucher is available to help with the cost offsetting university. This voucher is for all eligible students at their first meeting with a member of the team.

Am I eligible?

This voucher is only available to new first-year students on an undergraduate course.

How do I apply

You do not need to apply you will receive an email inviting you to meet with a member of the team, which you will need to attend in order to receive the voucher.

Tamar Engineering Project

The Tamar Engineering Project will transform the lives of talented and ambitious students whose background or circumstances might be a barrier to higher education advancement and success. Established through the vision and generosity of alumnus Stephen Ball, the Tamar Engineering Project will inspire and support the next generation of engineers in the UK.We will provide annual financial awards and one-to-one industry mentoring to the most deserving students to facilitate University study; each award representing a life-changing opportunity for the recipient.

More information on the Tamar Engineering Project 

Students based at other sites

If you're a University of Plymouth student at Peninsula Allied Health Centre (PAHC) at Marjon, Somerset College in Taunton, or the Knowledge Spa in Truro you can get in touch with us by using the Plymouth contact details. 

We may be able to offer a face-to-face appointment at your place of study.