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All students require support from time to time. The welfare system in place at the University of Cambridge means we have consistently high retention rates1, and this includes a range of services to help support our care leavers and estranged students.

Accommodation

All undergraduates are guaranteed accommodation by their Cambridge College for at least three years.2

Colleges usually shorter annual accommodation contracts (see our accommodation page for more information). If you're a Care Leaver (or Estranged Student) then you're entitled to have accommodation available to you all year round. Please let your College know if you require this at any point during your course.

Finance

The University offers an extensive programme of financial support to ensure that students can meet the cost of their education, regardless of background. This includes the Cambridge Bursary Scheme, long running initiative, which offers non-repayable bursaries for living costs to eligible students. If you are a Care Leaver (or Estranged Student) you may be eligible for a higher level of Cambridge Bursary. For information on eligibility and how to apply see the Cambridge Bursary Scheme website.

In addition to the Cambridge Bursary, there may be additional financial support available to you. Please contact the College you wish to apply to (or, if you are a current student, are currently studying at) to find out more.

UK students are also eligible for financial support from the government to help with tuition and living costs. If you're leaving care, you're likely to receive the maximum grant. Arrangements can vary depending on where you are from - please refer to the relevant student finance authority for details and guidance:

Your local authority may provide you with additional after-care support if you're under 25 and in education. We recommend that you contact your local authority to discuss the financial support available to you.

To make it easier to access all of the support available to you, please contact the College to which you’re considering applying and ensure they are aware of your circumstances, and that you indicate on your UCAS form that you are a care leaver when applying.

Welfare

Whilst studying at Cambridge, you will be supported by your College. Students are assigned a Director of Studies, who oversees academic progress, and a College Tutor, who will provide pastoral support and can advise you on any personal or financial matters.

The University also offers:

Student life

There are other students at the University who are care experienced and/or estranged. The students’ union (CUSU) runs a campaign called Class Act, which promotes the interests of current students who are traditionally underrepresented at the University.

There are also a number of ways to build a network of friends at Cambridge, both within your College, your course, and across the wider University. You may want to consider joining a society or becoming a student ambassador.

The Realise Team

The Realise Team provides support to care leavers and estranged students. They will get in touch when you first arrive at the University and be in touch throughout the year.

There are opportunities to apply for the CAMbassador scheme through this team, which is a great way to meet new people, develop skills and earn some money. If you are a current student in any year and would like to find out more about this scheme, please contact realise@admin.cam.ac.uk.

For more information about the team, see The Realise Project.

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198.2% at Cambridge compared with 90.1% nationally, Higher Education Statistics Agency; all UK domiciled full-time first degree entrants (March 2019).
2Accommodation guarantee applies to single undergraduates without children, and at all Colleges except St Edmund's.

 

Cambridge life as a care leaver/estranged student


Events for care leavers


Contact Us

Advice and support for care leavers and estranged students:

The Realise Team
T 01223 766872
E realise@admin.cam.ac.uk