Imperial provides a range of support for students who have spent at least three months in local authority care, which may include foster care or living in a residential care home.

Letting us know that you are from a care background will not negatively impact on your application for admission.

Types of support

Open days, campus tours and summer schools

Visiting a university can give you a good idea of what studying there will be like. If you'd like to visit Imperial, we hold events, tasters talks and open days and campus tours for all prospective students.

Imperial also holds a range of summer schools, some of which offer funded places to students from backgrounds with under representation in Higher Education. You can contact the coordinator for the relevant summer school for more information.

Application support

Information on the courses offered at Imperial and the entry requirements can be found online. Each course page also has contact details in case you have any questions about the course or the department.

If you come from a care background, please make sure to tick the box on your UCAS application, as this ensures that universities can let you know about any additional support to which you may be entitled.


If you are from a care background and would like further information on applying to Imperial, please contact us for more information.


At Imperial we appreciate that accommodation is often a concern for students who have been in care, and so we offer guaranteed 365-day (all year round) accommodation for all care leavers. We also give care leavers priority for vacation accommodation, and for choice of hall. 

Please contact us for more information.

Financial support

Government Support

  • Young people who meet the legal definition of the term 'care leaver' are classed as independent by Student Finance England, and are therefore usually entitled to the maximum amount of financial support.
  • Care leavers under the age of 25, who meet the legal definition, are also entitled to financial support from their local authority during their time at university.

Imperial Bursary

  • Imperial Bursaries are awarded for each year of study and are on a sliding scale based on household income, so students from a care background are usually entitled to the maximum amount of financial support.
  • The award may vary from year to year, so please check the amount for your year of entry. It does not need to be repaid.
  • Imperial Bursaries are based on household income assessments done by relevant government funding bodies, i.e. Student Finance England, Student Finance Northern Ireland, Student Awards Agency for Scotland and Student Finance Wales. This is why only Home students who have applied for government funding are eligible for the scheme.
  • In the first term of university there are often a number of one-off costs such as household basics, course books or laptops. To assist care leavers and estranged students with such costs, their instalments of the Imperial Bursary can be spread out over 10 months rather than the usual 8 months. Care leavers and estranged students will therefore receive two instalments of the Imperial Bursary before the typical instalment start date in November during their first year at Imperial.

Student Support Fund

  • If you suddenly find yourself in financial difficulties or experience an unexpected change in circumstances, you may be eligible to apply for emergency financial help through the Student Support Fund.
  • The Fund offers a one-off payment to cover such emergencies as last minute accommodation and travel necessities, equipment and childcare. It does not have to be repaid.

If you have a query about finance or financial support, please contact us for more information.

Academic and pastoral support

We are committed to providing a supportive environment to ensure that students are able to make their time at Imperial as successful as possible. 

  • All undergraduate students are allocated a Personal Tutor from within their department, who can provide pastoral support and can help you access any additional support services necessary.
  • Departmental Senior Tutors are responsible for overseeing pastoral and academic provision for undergraduate students, and can provide additional support for care leavers.
  • College Tutors are independent of your academic department, and can provide confidential support regarding both academic and pastoral issues.
  • The Student Union offers an independent advice centre, which not only supports current students but also provides support for students who hold a confirmed offer. 
  • Other College services include the Counselling and Mental Health Advice Service, the Chaplaincy, the Disability Advisory Service, and the Careers Service.

Useful links

Propel lets you search university profiles to see the support that is offered to care leavers, it also includes advice and guidance around Higher Education.

The Who Cares Trust provides advice and information for care leavers, in addition to a guide to university for 14-21 year olds.

The Buttle Trust can provide financial support for applications made via a support worker. They also provide a list of other charities that may be able to help.

The Care Leavers’ Foundation is a charity that provides grants to care leavers whose applications meet the criteria.

Government guidance on leaving care outlines what you can expect in terms of support from your local authority.

The Care Leavers’ Association provides advice and information for care leavers, and aims to build a network of care leavers across the country.

The Rees Foundation provides information, resources, networking and financial support to those with residential care experiences.

The National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL) lists events and opportunities for children in care, care leavers, and those that support them.

StandAlone has a support hub for applicants and current students who have no contact with their families.