Improving access to education for care-experienced students

Upper age limit of bursary will be removed.

Hundreds more care-experienced students will be eligible for an annual £8,100 a year bursary when the upper age limit of 26 is removed next year.

The change in autumn 2020 is designed to increase their chances of going to college or university.

The Care Experienced Bursary has seen significant uptake, with more than 1,000 higher education applicants for the current academic term.

The move comes after Scotland’s higher education institutions announced care-experienced applicants who meet minimum entry requirements will be guaranteed an offer of an undergraduate place at university.

Further and Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead said:

“People with experience of care often do not feel ready to start further or higher education immediately after leaving school. We want to support them into either further or higher education at whatever point in life they feel they are ready, no matter what age they are. Supporting care-experienced people is a key aim and our analysis shows the removal of the age cap will benefit hundreds of prospective students from next year.”

Kevin Browne-MacLeod, Director at Who Cares? Scotland said:

“Many of our members, especially those over the age of 26, have told us that the challenges they faced during their time in care have had a lasting impact. This can mean that they focus on their immediate needs and can only think about returning to education later in life.

“It is really encouraging that the Scottish Government listened to our call and implemented this change. We believe that there is a need for systemic change and a radical shift in how we care for young people. We are encouraged that the Scottish Government have not waited to implement change for those Care Experienced people who need it, today. “

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The Care-Experienced Bursary is a non-repayable bursary for learners with care-experience. It was introduced in higher education in 2017/18 and in further education in 2018/19.

In 2017/18, 545 students received the Bursary. The statistics for 2018/19 are still being collated, however uptake is expected to increase. SAAS have received over 1,000 higher education applications for the Bursary for the current academic year 2019/20.

The proportion of students reported as care-experienced is 2.9% for full-time further education and 1.2% for full-time higher education.

Edinburgh Napier University is a partner in ‘The Hub for Support for University and College of Care Experienced in South East Scotland’ (SUCCESS) - a collaborative three-year pilot project designed to improve post-school educational outcomes for care-experienced people of all ages in South-East Scotland. The Hub provides support, advice and guidance for individuals who want to access or return to education.



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