Young people who have been raised in kinship care may be entitled to financial support when they go to University.

  • Care leavers, which can include previously “looked after” children, going into higher education are entitled to specific financial support, including a £2,000 bursary.

  • A young person who has been under a Special Guardianship Order but was previously looked after by the local authority also has a right to advice and assistance from children’s services, to make their own arrangements when moving into independent living. This can include financial support. 

  • A student applying for financial support to attend university in England is assessed on the basis of their parents’ household income even if they don’t live with them, unless they are classed as an independent student. A parent is defined as a natural or adoptive parent, so it doesn’t include any other type of carer.

The young person is treated as ‘independent’ and financially assessed on their own income where:

  • they are estranged from their parents, or
  • their parents have both died, or
  • they were looked after by children’s services for 3 months ending on or after their 16th birthday.

The ‘independent student’ category is decided on a case by case basis, depending on the particular circumstances of that family.

To find out more, speak to your university about what support you might be entitled to.

You can also contact our advice service by e-mailing [email protected] or by telephone on 0300 123 7015 or through our website at

You can also find details of other organisations who may be able to assist you on our website at