The University of Chester works closely to support any student from a Widening Participation background. This includes our student body who are care experienced.
The University of Chester defines care experienced as any student aged 18-25 who has spent at least 3 months under the care of the Local Authority, prior to the age of 18. We offer financial support to students who meet this criteria and are studying full time on an undergraduate programme.
Pre 16 support:
- To help improve access to higher education the Widening Participation Team are currently in the process of launching a Looked After Child project working with Key Stage 3 pupils. This project will work closely with those looked after children who are under the care of Chester and Cheshire West Local Authority to offer mentoring support from current care experienced students. The project will also include campus visits and external visits to places of interest, such as galleries and museums.
- The Widening Participation Team currently run a Key Stage 4: Pathfinder Project aimed at targeted groups, one of which is Looked After Children.
Post 16 support:
- Care experienced applicants have access to a dedicated member of staff in the Widening Participation Team who can help with Student Finance and Personal Statement writing.
- The University offers bespoke 1-2-1 campus visits for individuals who are care experienced and want to learn more about the University of Chester or the university experience overall.
- The Widening Participation Team have links with virtual heads and leaving care teams within the local areas.
- Bespoke campus visits and support is offered to care experienced applicants. This includes help with accessing disability and wellbeing support when term begins, as well as support to apply for the Care Experienced Support Package.
- A travel bursary is offered for any care experienced individual who wishes to attend one of the University’s open days.
- The University of Chester has contact information on Propel and ensures that this is up to date and relevant information.
- The University of Chester has key members of staff within support departments to help provide targeted support for care experienced students. These support departments include Disability and Inclusion, Careers and Employability, Work Based Learning, Mental Health. Having these links means that students can access support quicker and are given a named contact to make reaching out more accessible and less daunting.
- Care experienced students receive a financial support package totaling £2000 per academic year. This includes a £1000 cash bursary and a £1000 fee waiver.
- Students are offered university accommodation for 365 days a year and are entitled to a 50% discount.
- Care experienced students have a link member of staff to support them throughout their studies. This member of staff is based in the Wellbeing and Mental Health and can liaise with academic deparments and local authorities when required.
- Care experienced students are prioritised through the University’s Peer Mentor programme to help aid the transition to higher education for new students
- Opportunity to be mentors on outreach project *update when it’s paid*
Careers and Future Support
- Careers and Employability provide targeted support for final year students who are approaching the end of their studies. This support includes discussions around goals as well as support with finding a job or career. This is a bespoke service for care experienced students in recognition of their experience and concerns they may have about leaving higher education.
- The University’s Careers and Employability Team offer lifetime support for graduates. Care Experienced students will be introduced to the graduate Careers Adviser.
- Care experienced students are one of the eligible groups who can apply to the Futures Employability Fund. This is a fund where students can get up to £500 to spend on activities or items towards their future career.
- Care experienced students are also eligible to participate in the Inspiring Futures programme, where students can access additional careers related activities and support to achieve lifelong success.
- The University offers a 45% discount on postgraduate fees if a care experienced undergraduate student chooses to enrol on further study.
The University of Chester is currently undergoing a review of support that we offer to care experienced students, across all areas. We will update the enhanced offer in due course.