Aston University commits to help care leavers succeed and thrive

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The FINANCIAL — Aston University has signed up to the Care Leaver Covenant to help care leavers participate in higher education and succeed at university.

The Care Leaver Covenant is a Department for Education initiative that has been established to improve support to young people aged 16-25 leaving care. The initiative aims to harness the expertise and resources of businesses, education providers and charities to ensure those leaving care have the necessary support and opportunities to succeed and thrive. 

By signing this covenant, Aston University is committing to continue to support these young people and provide them with a wide range of opportunities, as they leave care, to help them achieve their aspirations.

Through the University’s commitment to the Care Leaver Covenant, a targeted package of financial, educational, employment and welfare support to care leavers will be on offer including:

  • Aston Care Leavers’ Scholarship – UK students who are classed as a care leaver are eligible for the Aston Support Scholarship, worth £1250 in each year of study; 
  • Aston Support Fund – extra financial support in cases of unforeseen and unexpected financial hardship;    
  • University accommodation scholarships – Aston University works in partnership with the Unite Foundation to offer university accommodation scholarships to young people who have been in care or are estranged from their families. The scholarship free student bedroom in a purpose built Unite Students building for a maximum of three years of university life; 
  • Aston Support Fund Moving on Grant for Care Leavers – students who are care leavers or are estranged from their families might face different or additional challenges when coming to university. This can also be the case during the transition to life after graduation. This grant of £1000 aims to assist with moving on costs such as rental deposits, relocation costs and the cost of attending graduation;
  • Student Recruitment and Outreach (SRO) – our team works with students in Years 7-13 to support their learning and provide key skills for the future. We also work with teachers, parents and guardians to support their student or child to find the right route for them.
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The Student Recruitment and Outreach team target schools, colleges and sixth-form learners from under-represented groups across the region in order to help widen access to higher education, offering the opportunity to participate in a programme of outreach activities for Looked After Children that are designed to raise aspirations and awareness of higher education; with the aim of developing and supporting their aspirations to continue with their education. 

Providing a single point of contact in our Student Support Services team who can provide information, advice and support on all aspects of student life to care-experienced students who are considering or currently studying at Aston University.

Professor Alec Cameron, Vice-Chancellor, Aston University said:

“We already provide support to care leavers to get into and succeed at Aston University. By signing this covenant, we are committing to continuing to support these young people and provide them with a wide range of opportunities as they leave care to help them achieve their aspirations.”

Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan said:

“This has been a difficult time for everyone, especially care leavers who face some of the greatest hardships in accessing and settling into higher education. 

“Earlier this year, I wrote to Vice-Chancellors on the importance of doing everything we can to give care leavers the support they deserve and I am pleased to see Aston University signing up to the Care leaver Covenant. I urge other universities to follow suit.”

Andy Couldrick, Chief Executive, Birmingham Children’s Trust, said:

“The Trust continues to value all our local and national universities in their encouragement and support to our care experienced adults. We are proud that we have on average 100 care experienced adults at university and our aspiration is to increase this number. We therefore welcome, very much, our continued partnership with Aston.”

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