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Six new bursaries available for carers, care leavers and people with disabilities

The bursaries, each worth £3000, will enable students from groups under-represented in higher education to enrol on a foundation year programme at Birkbeck.

A generous donation has funded six new bursaries for foundation year students at Birkbeck, each worth £3000. Care leavers and carers are particularly encouraged to apply, as well as people who identify as disabled.

The bursaries offer opportunities and support to students who may otherwise be unable to undertake higher education, despite their academic abilities. People who have been in the care system are significantly less likely to go to university than their peers, with the Office for Fair Access (Offa) reporting just 6% of care leavers continuing into higher education by the age of 19, compared to 43% of the general population at the same age. Carers similarly face significant barriers to accessing higher education: research from the Carers Trust shows 56% of young adult carers in college or university struggle because of their caring role, and they are four times more likely to drop out of their course than other students. 

Dr Roz Dixon, Pro-Vice Master for Access and Community Engagement said: “Students bring a range of resources with them to their studies. We often find that care leavers and carers are very able, highly motivated students, who bring a wealth of experience and skills. What they are less likely to have is the financial backing to support their studies, or time to undertake paid work.

“These are important bursaries because they reduce some of the anxieties associated with studying and free up time for students to dedicate to their studies. This makes it that much easier for care leavers and carers to truly fulfil their potential in their chosen area of study. Our donors have been particularly generous in their support because they recognise both the potential and the needs of students who are care leavers or carers.”

To be eligible to apply for these bursaries, students must:

  • be enrolling in the first year of a foundation year programme
  • be a home or EU student
  • be at least one of: a carer; a care leaver; or a person who identifies as disabled and has declared a disability to Birkbeck
  • have sufficient financial provision to meet the remaining costs associated with fees and other course costs
  • have an income of less than £25,000 per year.

Applications can be made through the Foundation Year bursary form.

All applicants must provide a supporting statement, explaining why they want to study and how they fit the above criteria as well as demonstrating sufficient financial provision for remaining costs. The deadline to apply is the end of August.

Further information