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Care leavers and estranged students

Here at St Mary’s we recognise the need to support students who have previously been in the care of their local authority.

We have a dedicated member of staff in the Student Funding Service who is the designated point of contact for all care leavers and care experienced students, who can act as an additional support system and liaison between anyone who requires their assistance and the other areas of the university before, during and after someone registers as a student at St Mary’s.

If you would like to come in for an appointment with the designated member of staff, please email studentfundingservice@stmarys.ac.uk and we will set up a suitable time. Alternatively, you can phone 020 8240 2389.

Care Leavers, care experienced and estranged students are entitled to financial support from the university to support themselves. This is broken down into four sections:

St Mary's Cares Bursary

Please visit the St Mary's Cares Bursary page to see how much you’d be entitled to as a care leaver. 

Hardship fund

Care leavers are classed as one of the priority groups for the Hardship Fund, and their applications will be processed as such. Please email studentfundingservice@stmarys.ac.uk or come in to see us in the Funding Office in the Student Services Centre on the top floor of the J Building to find out more about the fund, how to apply or to discuss an application.

Emergency summer fund

St Mary’s recognises that the summer can be a difficult period for care leavers, care experienced and estranged students and so can provide a bursary to help cover costs of living in the period between academic years. Please contact the Student Funding Service to find out more. 

Graduation fund

Students are also entitled to a bursary from the university to help pay towards their graduation costs. Graduation is such a wonderful celebration of students’ hard work, and we don’t want anyone to miss out on this because of the cost involved. Places on this scheme are limited but we aim to be able to help Care Leavers, Care Experienced and Estranged students with the costs for:

  • Gown hire
  • Guest tickets
  • Basic photo package

Graduation award for care leaver and care experienced students

We recognise that the transition into life after university can be a challenging one, especially financially. Once graduated, our care leaver and care experienced students can receive an award to assist with immediate living costs, such as rent or support in travel costs to and from interviews.

Other support for care leaver and care experienced students

  • Pre-entry summer meeting organised by the designated contact
  • Priority invite to our ‘Get Set for Success’ pre-enrolment transition programme
  • Access to 365 days accommodation if needed with deposit paid on behalf of the student. If you are aware that you will need accommodation 365 days, please speak with the designated contact before completing your accommodation application
  • Automatic interview onto our paid Student Ambassador Scheme
  • Pastoral support with regular check-ins throughout the year with direct links to other supportive services such as the Wellbeing Services, Accommodation Services and Employability Service (also provided to estranged students)
  • Life-long career support and advice (available to all St Mary’s students)


Estranged students

We are signed up to the Stand Alone Pledge, which confirms our commitment to helping Estranged Students as they progress through their studies at St Mary’s University.

Similarly to our help for Care Leavers and Care Experienced students, we offer support to anyone who is estranged from their family, and can do this in a number of ways. Please visit the Stand Alone pledge website for details on what we can offer:

If you are estranged, whether recently or long-term, and you need assistance with anything – ranging from finding accommodation to help with Student Finance England – then please contact the Student Funding Service using the details above. We’d be happy to talk to you in a confidential manner, and our conversation won’t involve anyone else at all.

Estranged Students are also able to access the majority of support listed above.