Widening Participation

Committed to Care Leavers

Care leavers are one of the most under-represented groups in higher education. At the University of Edinburgh, we welcome applications from talented students with a background in care, and we are committed to doing all we can to help you apply to, and successfully study at, the University.

We can give you advice and guidance to help you through the application process, and we can offer you support once you join the University.

In addition, the University has made a commitment to make offers, if at all possible, to applicants who are defined as “care leavers” and who meet the minimum entry requirements for the course to which they have applied.


Background in care - anyone who has been in the care of a local authority for at least 13 weeks, whether away from home or in the home, will be considered to have a background in care, and therefore be eligible for support.

Care leaver - a person aged 25 or under who ceased to be looked after by a local authority on, or at any time after, their sixteenth birthday (Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014).

Pledge to Care Leavers

The University aims to make an offer to any care leaver (see definition above) who meets the minimum academic entry requirements for the course to which they have applied, where this is possible.

If you have indicated on your UCAS application that you have been in care, the relevant admissions office will contact you to ask whether you wish your application to be considered under the terms of the pledge.

In order for your care leaver status to be taken into account when your application is considered, you will be asked to provide evidence that you meet the definition of a care leaver. This will be in the form of a letter from your social worker or head teacher.

If you do not meet our definition of a care leaver, or if you do not wish to have your application considered under the terms of the pledge, your application will still be considered through our normal processes.

Support for new students

We support and encourage applications from those with a background in the care system, through our Supporting Looked After Children and Care Leavers scheme.

If you have indicated on your UCAS application that you have been in care, you will be contacted with information about the support systems available to you at the University. These include a 365-day accommodation guarantee; help in accessing available bursaries (a University of Edinburgh Access Bursary of £1000 per year of study is guaranteed to any entrant who is a confirmed Care Leaver - see above for definition), grants, or other forms of funding; and a range of on-campus support to help you adjust to university life.

With your permission, contact will be maintained with you throughout your university career to ensure you are being appropriately supported.

You can find full details of the support we offer to applicants who have a background in care in the leaflet below.

Supporting Looked After Children and Care Leavers Leaflet

University of Edinburgh Care Leavers Policy and Procedure

University of Edinburgh Corporate Parenting Strategy

The University is included in the Who Cares Trust's HE Handbook for Scotland.

Who Cares Scotland

Lesley Stokes

Senior Widening Participation Officer

Contact details