Support for care leavers & estranged students

We have a lot of support available for care leavers and estranged students at each part of your Goldsmiths journey - from before you arrive through to when you graduate.

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Support ranges from personalised campus tours, priority for university preparation schemes, and support if you're applying for accommodation. Details of all of this can be found below. 

What is meant by 'care leaver' or 'estranged student'?

care leaver is defined as a person who has been in care for at least 13 weeks or more. 

At Goldsmiths we also recognise kinship care – the care of children by relatives (including distant relatives) and family friends. You can find out more about this on the Buttle website

An estranged student is defined as someone who has no contact with their family. You can find out more about this on the Standalone website.

Open days and outreach activities

We understand that care leavers and estranged students may have a number of questions about university. We can offer support in a variety of ways, from personalised campus tours to extra support and advice on Open Days.

We also run schemes that prepare students for university, and we prioritise looked after children, care leavers and estranged students who apply for a place on:

  • Goldsmiths Progression Scheme
  • Realising Opportunities
  • Summer Schools 

If you have any questions or would like to book a personalised campus tour, please get in touch with our Outreach team. 


The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, UCAS, is the service that you use when applying to university. If you are a care leaver you can select this as an option on your UCAS application. If you do this we’ll be able to keep you informed about the support available to you. There's more advice for care leavers on the UCAS website

There is not currently an option on UCAS to identify yourself as an estranged student or someone who is experiencing kinship care, so if either of these options apply to you please email our Admissions team after you’ve made an application to let them know.

Interviews and applications

We understand that any applicant’s background and life experience – for example, a period of time spent in care – may affect their educational attainment, work experience and other achievements.

If you identify as a care leaver on your UCAS application (or if you’ve let the Admissions team know that you’re an estranged student or experiencing kinship care) you will be given special consideration, and we will take a holistic assessment of your potential as a student.

This could mean that you are considered for a place even if you have achieved (or are predicted to achieve) grades a little lower than the standard entry requirements. 

If you have been made a conditional offer of a place, your care leaver status will again be taken into account if you don’t meet the conditions of your offer.

Find out more about the application process

Financial support

If you're studying full-time you may be eligible for a tuition fee loan

Goldsmiths scholarships 

We regularly offer scholarships or bursaries specifically for care leavers or those who have experienced care.

Careers support 

We can offer careers support even before you've arrived at Goldsmiths. Once you've applied for a place here, you can get in touch with our Pre-Entry Careers Consultant to arrange a one-to-one meeting to discuss planning for your future. Contact the Careers Service for more information. 


We offer a range of accommodation options at Goldsmiths

We understand that care leavers and estranged students may have housing barriers that they need to pass and that the thought of organising accommodation out of term time might be daunting. Because of this, we can work with you to organise bespoke contracts that can include the summer term. If this support is something that would benefit you just let us know when you are applying for a place in accommodation. As a care leaver or estranged student you’ll be assigned someone in the team who’ll be your named contact, so you’ll always have someone dedicated to supporting you.

Student Support Services

Student Support Services can help you with all aspects of being a Goldsmiths student. The team can help you with:

  • Your student finance
  • Disability-related questions
  • Your wellbeing, including referrals to a doctor/GP surgery and information about how to access Wellbeing Mentoring
  • Completing progress reports for your local authority
  • The administration aspect of your study, such as enrolment, your exam or assessment arrangements, and your tuition fees

At the School hubs, you can also talk to us about complex matters, and we may arrange appointments for you to speak with one of our trained advisers. 

Working while you study: student ambassadors

A great way to earn money while you study is to become a student ambassador. We regularly recruit ambassadors to represent Goldsmiths in an interesting range of activities working with young people on and off campus. You can meet new people, gain skills, and develop your CV. Care leavers and estranged students are guaranteed a place at the ambassador assessment day if they complete the application process. Find out more about becoming a student ambassador


As a Goldsmiths student you can make the most of our free on-campus Careers Service. The service will help support you with all aspects of your career planning and development, and can help you enhance your employability. 

Students' Union 

Goldsmiths Students’ Union (SU) exists to represent all students, and provides support, services, entertainment and activities where you can get to know people. It’s run for students, by students, and we're proud to have a Care Leaver and Estranged Students Officer, the first role of its kind in the country. The Union also runs a free and confidential advice service, and can provide access to a huge variety of digital resources to help break down any barriers to student life, including information on things like employment and housing. Find out more about the Students' Union

Open Book 

Open Book provides both academic and pastoral support to students who might be described as ‘non-traditional’ or ‘hard to reach’, who have experienced serious and often multiple disadvantage, particularly relating to education.

Tailored support is provided and can consist of one-to-one mentoring, informal classes on a variety of subjects, formal classes leading to extended project qualification, support relating to UCAS and Student Finance England, and ongoing support – academic and pastoral – throughout a student’s degree.

Find out more about the Open Book project.