The university works with key stakeholders, including local authorities and schools, to provide pre-entry information, advice and guidance to support care experienced students make informed decisions about higher education. We offer the following opportunities:
- Bespoke campus visits for pupils and social workers
- Bespoke taster sessions & HE Days
- Student shadowing: the opportunity to experience life as a student
- Exeter Scholars (Access Programme): care experienced students in the South West and other parts of England may be eligible to join our fair access programme. This free programme (including subsidised travel) gives care experienced students the opportunity to develop their knowledge about university, build transferrable skills, and experience what it’s like to study a subject of their choice at university level.
- Open Day & Offer Holder Visit Days: these provide opportunities for care experienced students to meet Exeter’s Designated Member of Staff to answer any queries or concerns, while also finding out more about our courses and university life.
- Travel bursary: up to £150 is available to reimburse costs of travelling to an Open Day or Offer Holder Visit Day.
The University provides advice and guidance to care leavers and local authorities relating to all aspects of the admissions process via a dedicated officer in our WP and UK Student Recruitment Team ().
At the University of Exeter we define a care leaver as a young person (up to the age of 25) who has been looked after by the local authority for more than 13 weeks since they were 14, including some time at age 16 or 17.
We define care experienced as any student who has been or is currently in care or from a looked after background at any stage of their life, no matter how short. This care may have been provided in one of many different settings, such as in residential care, foster care, kinship care or looked after at home with a supervision requirement.
UK students who meet our care leaver criteria will be eligible for a contextual offer which may be significantly lower than the published grade in recognition of their personal context.
Care leavers and care experienced students who receive an offer from the University will receive specific information and communication about the support available to them throughout the admissions process and after they commence their studies.
Further information can be found at www.exeter.ac.uk/students/wp-suport/supportfor/careleavers/
We provide support with accommodation as follows:
- Accommodation guarantee and extended contract: Care leavers can choose to live in University student accommodation for 365 days a year for the duration of their course if they wish to do so.
- Unite Foundation Scholarship Scheme: (Exeter Campuses Only). The Unite Foundation offers generous scholarships for care leavers. Students who successfully apply for this scheme currently receive free accommodation for three years in a Unite student building.
Further information about the application process can be found at www.unitefoundation.co.uk/get-a-scholarship/
Settling in to university life
Support is available to make the transition to university life as smooth as possible. This includes:
- Pre-Freshers’ Week transition events: care experienced students are invited to attend events designed to help students overcome any concerns they may have about making the transition to studying at university. These events provide students with the opportunity to meet new people in advance of starting their studies and learn about the range of support services available. Practical advice is available on a range of topics including academic skills, welfare, Freshers’ Week and induction.
- Welcome packs: If required students can receive a settling-in pack which includes bedding, kitchen equipment etc and non-perishable food boxes. For 2020, we are planning on offering a ‘Welcome Pack’ which contains university merchandise and food vouchers. Students will be able to collect the pack from Student Services.
Student support at university
All students receive the support of a personal tutor. In addition a range of services are available to support care experienced students during their studies including:
- One to one meetings with a member of staff responsible for care leavers and with associated knowledge and expertise. They will help with advice and support including referrals to other support services within the university.
- Support group meetings throughout the year organised by our designated member of staff
- Opportunity to be part of our peer mentoring programme.
- Independent advice and guidance provided by our Students’ Guild Advice team (contact )
Health and wellbeing are important for effective study, alongside a rich and fulfilling student experience. Staying well in body and mind isn’t always easy at university. We recognise that it’s much more difficult to learn and enjoy student life when personal difficulties or emotional worries arise. Our Wellbeing Services offer a range of resources and support to help with both personal and academic life. For example, if appropriate students are offered six sessions of counselling. If required, funding is available to support further counselling which is on a case by case basis.
Financial support available for care leavers includes:
- Tuition fee waiver: UK care leavers starting undergraduate or PGCE courses at the University will not have to pay tuition fees.
- Access to Exeter Bursary: students with a household income of less than £25,000 p.a. will automatically receive our Access to Exeter bursary. For the first year of studies students are eligible to receive a £2,100 Bursary and from the second year onwards, for the duration of their UG studies, a £1,550 Bursary as long as they continue to meet the eligibility criteria.
- Care leaver’s bursary: this bursary is intended to help with the cost of accommodation during the summer vacation period after the care leaver’s first and subsequent years of study (but not final year). The bursary is not fixed, but is decided by taking into account the additional costs of accommodation needs and associated costs. For more information about financial support visit exeter.ac.uk/students/finance/studentfunding/fundingforcareleavers
- Society Engagement fund: students may be eligible for a bursary of £50 that can be spent on memberships to societies, society formals or events to help them fully participate in university life.
Care Leavers can apply for the graduation package bursary. This includes funding towards hire of gowns and photographs as well as travel costs and accommodation to attend the ceremony. The bursary can also include funding towards a deposit for accommodation rent.
Careers guidance and employability
The University of Exeter offers career and employability support and guidance throughout the course of study and this is continued after graduation. The Career Zone can offer a wide variety of programmes, including fully funded internships and mentoring schemes to support their entrance into the work place. Care experienced students are provided with a named contact within the Career Zone to provide help and advice. More information can be found at www.exeter.ac.uk/careers/
Student Ambassador Scheme: Care experienced students are encouraged to apply to become an Exeter Student Ambassador, which enables them to undertake paid work while acquiring employability skills. Extra consideration is given to these students during the recruitment process.
Local and national support network
The University is an active member of the South West Looked After Children Practitioners Group. The University also has NNECL membership and represent the South West region at the National Steering Group. We are proud to be part of NNECL’s pilot kite mark.
For further information and guidance, please contact:
- Natalie Bracher (Exeter Campuses) or Richard Prest (Penryn Campus)
- For students currently studying at the university, please contact Rachel Grimshire (Exeter Campuses) or Meg Chapman (Penryn Campus)
2. A Robust Employment Offer
- We are keen to develop our relationship with Devon County Council’s STEP Forward programme, a supportive programme aimed at care leavers in Devon aged between 16-25. Designed to support young people with their skills, experience and qualifications. We are keen to explore whether there are similar opportunities in Cornwall.
- We aim to signpost care leavers to our apprenticeship vacancies webpage.
- We also would like to promote on our job vacancies pages that the university is committed to supporting care leavers.
- We aim to have this provision in place by the next academic year.
- The University runs several community events across the year for example community days, science events and celebrating cultural events such as Chinese New Year and Diwali. We aim to actively promote these events to looked after children and care leavers in the community through our relationships with local authorities and outreach provision.
- The university offers a free Community Law Clinic in Exeter, which provides a variety of free legal services to members of the public. This will be promoted to local authorities a source of legal advice. Further discussion are taking place for similar support to be offered to care leavers based in West Cornwall.
- Being active is great for your physical health and fitness, and evidence shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing. Therefore, we would also like to have discussions with the university Sports Park on both campuses to explore how they could support the local community.
- We aim to have this provision in place for the next academic year.