Skip to content Exit mobile menu

St Mary's Cares Bursary

The St Mary’s Cares Bursary is for Home/UK undergraduates who are care leavers, or who have spent some time in local authority care (usually in a residential care home or in foster care), or who are irreconcilably estranged from their family.

To qualify for this, students will need to be:

  • new Home/UK undergraduates starting in 2023/24 who can prove that they currently live, or have lived in care and can provide a letter from their local authority, social worker, key worker or personal advisor confirming their status
  • new Home/UK undergraduates starting in 2023/24 who can demonstrate that they are irreconcilably estranged from their parents (as assessed by Student Finance England).

In all cases, students must also be:

  • ordinarily resident in England
  • in some cases have a residual household income of £25,000 or less as assessed by Student Finance England (SFE) by 31st October 2023.


  • £3,000 per progressive academic year, for a maximum of three years for undergraduate study and one year for a PGCE.

How to apply

Care leaver or care experienced

If you have identified yourself as a care leaver on your UCAS application, there is no application form for this bursary; you will be contacted directly by the University.

If you are care experienced or unsure whether you would be eligible, please email the designated member of staff, Rebecca Hughes, on to enquire about this bursary. There is still no application form, but you will need to provide proof of being in care and how long you spent in care to be considered for this bursary (usually a letter from someone in the relevant local authority department).


If you are irreconcilably estranged from your family, as assessed/being assessed by Student Finance England, please email the designated member or staff, Rebecca Hughes on to enquire about this bursary. There is no application form, but you will need to show you have been assessed as independent and irreconcilably estranged by Student Finance England by 31st October 2023 to be considered for this bursary. If you need assistance in doing so, please contact Rebecca on the above email address.

Student finance

In order for us to process this bursary, please ensure you have a Student Finance England (SFE) account and give your consent to share your financial information with St Mary’s University. To do this, please follow the steps below:

Step 1

Apply for Student Finance through Student Finance England (SFE).

Step 2

Provide your household income to Student Finance England. To be classified as a care leaver by SFE, you must provide them with evidence.

Step 3

Both you and your sponsors/parents/partner/guardians must give consent to share your household income with St Mary’s University, or you must state that you are irreconcilably estranged. Your consent must be activated on your Student Finance England account before/on 31st October 2023. For any queries on giving your consent please contact Student Finance England directly on 0300 100 0607.

Notification and payment

Eligible students will be contacted by the end fo October 2023 through their St Mary’s student email address. Payments will be made in three equal instalments in November, January, and April each progressive year.

Please note: students given the St Mary’s Cares Bursary may be eligible for another bursary or scholarship without affecting the St Mary’s Cares bursary.

  • St Mary’s Cares bursaries do not need to be repaid
  • Eligible students must be registered at St Mary’s University by 31st October 2022. You must also have had your household income assessed by Student Finance England by this date
  • Eligible students must attend an induction meeting with the designated member of staff, Rebecca Hughes, by October 2022. You will be invited to this meeting when you have registered as a student at St Mary’s.
  • Students must be undertaking their first Undergraduate degree (i.e. not previously completed an undergraduate degree programme before)
  • The official classification of a care leaver only includes students aged under 25 at the start of their degree programme. If you are aged over 25, you may still be considered, but will need to email the designated contact, Rebecca Hughes on If you are not eligible for this bursary, other financial support may be available.
  • The award is payable for a maximum of three years when studying on an undergraduate programme, and one year when studying a PGCE.  You must be enrolled full-time to receive the bursary in 2022/23 and each subsequent year
  • The bursary will not be paid during part-time or full-time repeat academic years, or during any dormant/suspended periods
  • If more students meet the criteria than funds available, bursaries will be awarded on a first come first served basis. If you do not receive a bursary but meet the criteria, please email the designated contact Rebecca Hughes on to find out what other financial support is available
  • The following categories of students are not eligible:
    1. Students transferring in from another institution
    2. Students undertaking a postgraduate qualification (except PGCE)

Please note: the official definition of a ‘care leaver’ is someone who is under the age of 25 when they enrol and who was under the care of their local authority until at least the age of 18.