Support for care leavers and care experienced students

Students sitting at a table

At ARU, we're committed to supporting our students who are Care Leavers and those who are Care Experienced throughout your higher education experience.

This page tells you more about the support available to you before you apply, and throughout your time with us.

What do ‘Care Leaver’ and ‘Care Experienced’ mean?

The term ‘Care Leaver’ comes from The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000: a Care Leaver is someone who has been in the care of the Local Authority for a period of 13 weeks or more spanning their 16th birthday and is aged 25 or under. At ARU, we also include students who are aged 16-25 who have been referred to a Foyer by their Local Authority.

‘Care Experienced’ refers to anyone who has been or is currently in care or from a looked after background at any stage of their life, no matter how short, including adopted children who were previously looked after. Care may have been provided in a number of ways or settings such as foster care, kinship care, residential care or through being looked after at home with a supervision requirement.

Specific support at ARU

The support available at ARU does vary slightly depending on whether you are a Care Leaver or Care Experienced, but please be assured that you won’t be left on your own.

Before you apply

Whether you are just starting to think about Higher Education, seeking advice about Student Finance or writing a successful Personal Statement, the Outreach Team are here to help.

“I was really nervous to start University as a care-experienced student, however the support I have received from lecturers, the student experience team and other care-experienced students has been invaluable.”
Lys, Social Work student

+ Meet the Outreach Team

+ Outreach work

+ UCAS and ARU Admissions

Support throughout your studies at ARU

When your status changes from an applicant to a student, the Student Experience team will take over as your point of contact if you are studying at one of our core campuses (Cambridge, Chelmsford or Peterborough) and we are here to support you throughout your studies.

You can contact us directly using our designated email address and you can find out more about the support we can connect you with using the drop-downs below.

“Departments try their best to support care leavers like: Admissions, Residential Services, Study Skills Plus, Student Advice and Money Advice. All these little things have helped me to achieve my degree in the best way possible. Enjoy your experience being an ARU student and get the most of it.”
M.Fadhel, BSc (Hons) Sports Science


+ Meet the Student Experience Team

+ Telling us your situation

+ Accommodation

+ Pre arrival transition day

+ Money support

+ Peer Support Network

+ Employability for Care Leavers

+ Care Leaver monthly newsletter

+ Care Leaver interns

+ Become a Care Leaver Student Ambassador

Other support at ARU

As well as the support specific to Care Leavers and Care Experienced students at ARU, you can also access all of the general support on offer to all students at ARU:

  • Student Services – this includes the Counselling and Wellbeing Services, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Employability Team and the Welcome Buddy Scheme – and lots more!
  • Students’ Union – this includes their Advice Service and all of their clubs and societies – and lots more!

Support external to ARU

As well as the support available at ARU, there is also support available through various charities set up specifically for Care Leavers and Care Experienced people.

  • Become – the charity for children in care and young Care Leavers.
  • The Rees Foundation – a charity whose aim is to help Care Experienced people thrive by offering them support throughout their whole life.
  • The Care Leavers Foundation – an organisation that offers support, encouragement, and financial assistance to Care Leavers.
  • The Capstone Care Leavers Trust – awards grants to people aged 17-25 years who have been in Local Authority Care in England or Wales and are in need. They also offer advice and guidance.
  • Family Action Listening Works Service – a national out of hours phone, web and text support service for care experienced young adults aged 18-27. Listening Works is open 7 days a week from 6pm to midnight, staffed by trained volunteers with paid and experienced supervisors on the line with them.