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BU Care Leavers Bursary

We understand that the financial side of university life can seem scary, and we don’t want you to worry about money while you’re studying. Our BU Care Leavers Bursary is here to give you additional support if you’ve been in full-time care for three months or longer at any time over the last five years.

You’ll never have to pay this money back and can use it for whatever you need or want while you’re at university, whether that’s a helping hand towards paying your rent, covering your phone bill or simply to support you through your university experience.

You don’t need to do anything to receive this bursary - we’ll award it to you automatically as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. You’ll continue to receive it every year you’re studying at BU (unless you’re on a placement year) as long as you still meet these criteria.

How much is the bursary worth?

You will receive £6,000 to support your learning and living costs in your first year at university, and £5,000 in your second and final years of study.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for a BU Care Leavers Bursary, you must:

  • have been in care for a period of 3 months or more in the last 5 years
  • be a UK national, or have ‘settled status’ (no restrictions on how long you can stay), or be an EU national; and live in UK or the EU, and have ordinarily been a resident for the last three years*
  • be a new full or part-time student studying a course (excluding HNC/HND) at BU or at Wiltshire College Salisbury***
  • have a household income of £25,000 or less
  • have selected BU as your firm or first choice through UCAS.

*Ordinarily resident has been defined as 'habitual and normal residence in one place.’ It means that you live in a country year after year by choice through a set period, apart from temporary or occasional absences, such as holidays or business trips. Living here totally or mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education does not count as being ordinarily resident.

**Applies to: BA (Hons) Photography and BA (Hons) Film Production and Cinematography. If you're studying at one of our other Partner Colleges, you will need to contact them for information about financial support.

How to apply for a BU Care Leavers Bursary

The BU Care Leavers Bursary is awarded to all eligible students.

There is no need to apply* as you should automatically receive the bursary if you meet the eligibility criteria, providing you have completed an income assessment as part of your student finance application, and given consent to share this information.

*You’ll need to apply for the bursary if you are studying any part-time course delivered at BU. - Apply now

How are bursaries paid?

Your bursary will be loaded onto a pre-paid card. The money will be made available to you in nine instalments from October to June. You can only spend money that’s in your account, so you can’t go overdrawn, and you can receive up to 2% cashback on purchases at certain retailers. You will be advised of the full terms and conditions when you collect your card following enrolment at BU.

Is there any other support for care leavers?

In addition to providing this bursary, as a care leaver you are guaranteed year-round accommodation for the duration of your course.

If you’re studying at one of our partner colleges where university Halls of Residence are unavailable, we will contribute to the cost of your accommodation with a bursary for that purpose.

Jacquie O’Brien is our dedicated contact for care leavers and provides support prior to joining BU, as well as during your studies. Jacquie is reachable via email at or by calling +44 (0)1202 965476.

The legal bit

Bursaries are reviewed on a regular basis and the university reserves the right to withdraw, amend or introduce new bursaries at any time. However, BU will not alter to a student’s detriment the rules applying to a bursary package that has been awarded. Bursaries are offered subject to funding and availability.