Students outside the library

Care-experienced students

LSE supports care-experienced students to realise their potential.

LSE recognises that care-experienced students may face challenges accessing and studying in higher education. This guidance outlines the pre-entry and on-course support we offer. If you have further questions about the information on this page, or want to speak to someone about your circumstances, you can email Jess King or Katie Willis at ard.lsecares@lse.ac.uk.

What does LSE mean by 'care-experienced'?

The definition of care-experienced varies around the UK and between higher education providers. At LSE, our definition of care-experienced is anyone who is currently in care or has previously been in local authority or kinship care for any length of time at any point in their life. Kinship Care includes children who may have been:

If you’re not sure whether you'd be considered care-experienced, just email us at ard.lsecares@lse.ac.uk and we’ll be happy to discuss your situation. 

Support before you apply to university

If you're currently at school, college or sixth form, and interested in applying to LSE at undergraduate level, our Widening Participation team run a range of events and activities that are free to attend and will give you an insight into LSE’s degree programmes and student life. Care-experienced students are prioritised for places wherever possible, and our supportive team will help ensure you get the most out of taking part. All travel costs are reimbursed to and from in-person Widening Participation activities.

LSE's Student Recruitment and Study Abroad team also run two open days for prospective undergraduate students each year, an offer holders' day and opportunities for applicants to shadow an LSE student. We encourage you to let us know you are care-experienced when you apply, as you'll be given priority in the event we're oversubscribed. If an Open Day is already fully booked, please get in touch with us at lse.cares@lse.ac.uk to see how we can help.

If you live more than 50 miles away from the LSE campus, you may be eligible to apply for the LSE Travel Fund. The LSE Travel Fund contributes towards the cost of standard rail or coach travel to and from the LSE campus for eligible prospective undergraduate students attending our Undergraduate Offer Holders’ daysUndergraduate Open Days or the Student Shadowing scheme.

If you are unable to afford to pay for your travel in advance, please do contact lse.cares@lse.ac.uk and we can discuss how we may be able to support you with this travel. 

Further information can be found on our Widening Participation and Information for prospective students webpages

Applying for university

Undergraduate applicants

If you're care-experienced, we encourage you to answer 'yes' to the question about whether you've been in care on the UCAS application form. This allows our Undergraduate Admissions team to take this into account. UCAS have put together two guides for students, Why Tick the Box and UCAS undergraduate: Care Experienced Students. We also advise teachers/advisers to ensure this information is included in the UCAS reference form.

LSE operates a contextual admissions process. When our admissions selectors review applications, they consider an applicant’s personal and educational circumstances, as well as both achievement and potential. This applies both when making offers and when confirming them after results day. LSE also has a contextual offers scheme. Eligible students include care leavers who are applying for any of LSE’s undergraduate programmes.

You can find out more about our undergraduate admission processes on our Admissions information webpage.

Postgraduate applicants

We don't run a contextual admissions process at postgraduate level, but our assessors take a holistic view of all applications. Therefore, when completing the application form, we encourage you to include any information about how your personal circumstances have impacted on your education to date.

Financial support

Support from your local authority

You may be eligible for some support from your local authority, the council covering the area where you live.

Coram Voice's guide can help you to understand the support you can expect from your local authority or contact your local authority Leaving Care Team directly. You can also search for support offered by individual local authorities at Care Leaver Local Offer.

Undergraduate applicants

In addition to the support available from Student Finance England and your local authority, LSE provides several bursaries and scholarships for which care-experienced students are eligible to apply. These include the following:

  • LSE Care Experienced and Estranged Student Bursary: When you complete your UCAS application form, you will have the opportunity to share with your chosen universities whether you have been in care or are estranged from your parents or carers. The question for care experienced students is ‘Have you been in care?’ and for estranged students ‘Would you consider yourself estranged from your parents?’ The LEAPS website contains video guides to locating completing both the care experienced and estranged student declarations. If you answer ‘Yes’ to either of these questions, the information will be shared with LSE and you will automatically receive the Care Experienced and Estranged Student Bursary when you enrol at LSE. Find out more on our Care Experienced and Estranged Student Bursary webpage.
  • LSE Undergraduate Bursary Scheme: If you apply for a means-tested loan via Student Finance England, they'll share your information with LSE. Bursaries are automatically awarded to any UK undergraduate student with a household income of up to £42,875. Find out more on our LSE Bursaries webpage.
  • LSE Scholarships: We offer a range of different scholarships for students from different backgrounds, including some which prioritise applications from care experienced students such as the Uggla Family Scholars programme, and we encourage all offer holders to apply. To be considered, you need to complete and submit an Undergraduate Scholarship Application Form by the deadline of 31 May 2024. You can let our scholarship assessors know about your care experience by ticking the box in Section 1.11. You should then provide further details in Section 9.2, ‘Your Future Plans’, as part of your personal statement.

Uggla Family Scholarship 

LSE awards seven Uggla Family Scholarships each year to undergraduate students from the UK and care experienced students are especially encouraged to apply. The total scholarship for 2023 entry for UK Uggla Family Scholars was £21,200. Alongside receiving financial support, the Uggla Family Scholarship Programme will provide comprehensive support, coaching and mentoring throughout the duration of your studies. You can find out more by visiting our Uggla Family Scholarship webpage.

Please note that the deadline for the receipt of LSE Undergraduate Scholarship Applications for offer holders with Home fee status is: 31 May 2024. All scholarship decisions will be made and communicated by the end of August 2024.  

More information about all of LSE’s undergraduate funding options can be found on the LSE fees and funding webpage.

Student Support and LSE Access Funding

LSE’s In-Course Financial Support provides further financial support to students when they are enrolled at LSE. This funding includes the LSE Access Fund, which is available to some groups of students who require assistance with general living costs, and the Student Support Fund, which supports students at all levels of study facing unforeseen financial hardship.

LSE Students' Union Hardship Fund

In addition to the above, the LSE Students’ Union has a hardship fund which provides students with short-term funding to cover basic living expenses in the event of unexpected circumstances.

University of London and the Unite Foundation Scholarship

For students who are care leavers, care experienced (Scotland), or estranged from their family who met outlined eligibility criteria found on the UoL Scholarships for Intercollegiate Halls webpage, this scholarship provides, free of charge, a catered standard single study bedroom at Nutford House or a catered en-suite room at College Hall, commencing the start of the 2023-2024 academic year, for up to 12 full-time students, registered at included University of London Member Institutions, including LSE. For more information, visit the UoL Scholarships for Intercollegiate Halls webpage.

Postgraduate applicants

In addition to the UK Government postgraduate loans, as a care-experienced student, you're also eligible to apply for a number of LSE awards and scholarships.

Accommodation

If you're planning to stay in LSE halls of residence during your studies, our Residential Services team can offer the following support:

  • Year-round accommodation in an LSE hall of residence. Depending on the hall you're staying in, we may need to ask you to move rooms during the vacation periods, but you will have a room throughout. We recommend that care experienced students book accommodation in a hall with a contract of 39 weeks or longer. This is because halls with 31 week contracts operate as hotels during the Christmas and Easter Vacation periods. If you wish to stay over the vacation periods in a hall which offers 31 week contracts, we are happy to facilitate this, however, you must be aware that commercial guests will reside in the hall during these times. 
  • If you're an undergraduate student, you can book accommodation each year for the duration of your degree, subject to you following our booking process.
  • An Accommodation Bursary comprised of a reduction of up to £2,500 in your accommodation fees, if you’re an eligible undergraduate student.
  • Support from our in-house warden teams throughout the year. This includes advice, guidance and support with navigating life at LSE, plus connections to activities and services available to our students.
  • Off-site storage facility, at a fee, via LOVESPACE. LSE Students can qualify for £10 off with the code LSELOVE. 

After you have accepted your offer to study at LSE, you can book your room via the LSE Student Accommodation System. Care-experienced students should use the ‘personal circumstances’ part of the booking form to let LSE know that you're a care leaver, as well as if you need accommodation for 52 weeks or have any other requirements. For more information on the booking process and our halls of residence, please check our Accommodation webpages.

Support for current students

The Widening Participation team provide support for targeted Offer Holders, including those that have disclosed that they have been in care on their UCAS application. The Widening Participation team will contact eligible Offer Holders directly.

There's also lots of support for all students during your time at LSE. Visit our Support during your studies webpage for more information.

Wellbeing and mental health

The Disability and Mental Health Service offers confidential advice and support to all disabled students. This includes support for students with physical impairments, long-term health conditions, mental health conditions, specific learning difficulties, and autistic spectrum conditions. 

The Disability and Mental Health Service also has a team of Mental Health Advisers who can provide advice and support to students whose mental health condition is impacting or may impact on their studies. The Mental Health Advisers can offer practical support around managing your studies while coping with a mental health condition, as well as helping with support if you are having a crisis or need urgent help.

LSE also has a Student Wellbeing Service for any student who would like to discuss support for their mental health and wellbeing. The Wellbeing Advisers will help you to explore the support that would be most helpful to you, including workshops & groups, self-care strategies, peer support, support from a Disability or Mental Health Adviser, referral to the LSE Counselling Service and signposting to LSE and external resources.

LSE also has a Counselling Service that offers a private and confidential space for students to talk with a trained professional about anything in your life which is impacting on your psychological wellbeing and daily life. Counsellors don’t provide advice or solutions but work with you to reflect on whatever you are finding difficult and help to identify healthier strategies to manage.

The LSE Faith Centre hosts a wide range of religious and wellbeing activities for all LSE students and is working to create a fully faith-inclusive campus. The centre offers a range of wellbeing services such as a free Mindfulness on Monday session, Tai Chi and yoga classes and quiet spaces for reflection.

The LSESU Level Up Fitness space offers a wide range of fantastic gym facilities with great value memberships for students, including the use of a range of resistance machines, cardio equipment and a new functional area with spin bikes.

Academic support

We provide a range of academic support to students during their time at LSE, both on a departmental level and School-wide.

Within the departments, your central point of contact is your Academic Mentor. They can give you academic guidance and feedback, but also guidance on non-academic issues.

If you are an undergraduate student, you can also reach out to your Departmental Tutors, who act as an alternative point of contact and can assist with more complex queries. For postgraduate students, your Programme Director can assist you with further support.

Outside of the department, the LSE LIFE team offers a range of academic support, including one-to-one support and group workshops. Further help is offered by the Academic Support Librarians and the Digital Skills Lab. Further information about academic support outside of the department can be found on the Academic Support webpage.

Careers support

The LSE Careers team offer targeted careers support for students who are care experienced, have caring responsibilities, are the first generation of their family to attend university, or are LSE bursary holders. By signing up to the mailing list you will receive updates on targeted careers support, employer events and programmes. Find out more on the Careers Social Mobility webpage.

External support

There are lots of external organisations that provide support advice and guidance for students from care-experienced backgrounds. We have highlighted a few of these below.

EACS guide

EACS (estranged and care-experienced students) guide is a virtual guide written by estranged and care experienced students to bring together information and advice to help other students from the same background.

Become

Become is a charity that provides support for young people in care and care leavers. Become’s website, Propel, also provides information on the support available to you at colleges and universities across the UK. Become also offers a bespoke coaching programme for Care Experienced young people aged 16 to 27.

Unite Foundation- All of Us

All of Us is an online and in person community for estranged and care experienced students across the UK. They run free in-person events and meet ups open to all students who identify as care experienced and estranged.

Care Leavers’ Association

The Care Leavers’ Association is a charity aimed at improving the lives of care leavers of all ages. They run campaigns and projects, advocate for change at all levels of government, and provide training for a range of organisations. The Young People’s Project offers advice and support on Leaving Care rights and entitlements, as well as signposting to services that can offer assistance.

Friendship Works

Friendship Works works with care leavers aged 18-25 across London to match them with trained volunteer mentors who support them to access new opportunities, build self-confidence and develop resilience.

National Network for the Education of Care Leavers

The NNECL website provides information on events and further resources.

Who Cares? Scotland

Who Cares? Scotland works on behalf of care-experienced young people to influence change in Scotland, ensuring their voice is heard on the issues that matter to them.

Rees Foundation

The Rees Foundation provide advice and support for care-experienced people of any age- including their Uni:fy online sessions for care experienced university students up and down the country to come together, connect and share their experiences of university life.

 

If you have any further questions or require support not outlined on this webpage, you can always email Jess King or Katie Willis at ard.lsecares@lse.ac.uk. We'll do our best to support you.