Each year, approximately 6,000 young people emerge from the care system in the UK. Of those, around 7% go to university. As a foster carer, you have an important role to play in helping your foster child to progress through their education and into the world of work.
As I am sure you are aware, there are unique challenges faced by children in care throughout their education. Many foster children, without parental guidance and a stable home, fail to reach their potential. Universities are recognizing that extra support is required to enable care leavers to access higher education. Support is offered to care leavers from initial application, through to graduation and also continues whilst they search for employment. Family encouragement is essential to help those in foster care to access this extra support.
Here at Aston University, we have a named contact to help care leavers with all aspects of university life. Patrick Coughlan can offer ongoing support and impartial guidance to young people. Patrick will treat any questions confidentially and will only refer to other departments or agencies internally and externally with the student’s permission.
The help that we can offer ranges from help with the university application process and advice about accessing funds from the local authority through to support once they begin their University course.
When assessing all care leavers for Access to Learning Funds, (additional financial support available at University) we disregard the Care Leavers Bursary of up to £2,000. Students who have come to us from foster care may or may not have a home to return to over the summer and in the holiday periods. Aston University guarantees accommodation for 365 days in the first year and can help find suitable rental accommodation if a student would prefer to live off campus.
Care leavers may also be entitled to additional financial support from the Access to Learning Fund for assistance with their living costs during the vacation periods and should contact their key worker for a Foyer Bursary application form.
For further information about the financial support available for care leavers, please visit www1.aston.ac.uk/current-students/studentsupport/fau/care-foyer
If you would like to contact to a member of our student support staff, please email Patrick Coughlan at firstname.lastname@example.org