Care experienced


You may find that you don’t think you need any additional support at first but if things change and you are struggling with your studies then you should not hesitate to go along to your local student services team who will be able to help with a range of issues.


Collage of 2 | Inside of UHI Shetland campus | Student sitting on stairs


Who is care experienced?

We understand it can be confusing to work out if you would be considered a 'care experienced' or not. The term refers to anyone who has been or is currently in care or from a looked-after background at any stage in their life, no matter how short, including adopted children who were previously looked-after.

This care may have been provided in a one of many different settings such as in residential care, foster care, kinship care, or through being looked-after at home with a supervision requirement (definition as used by the Scottish Funding Council).

Support at UHI content

Support at UHI

Support at UHI

Academic and study skills

Many students struggle with the academic demands which entering higher education can bring; in particular the increase in essay writing skills whereby you have to analyse text, discuss, and evaluate can be challenging for new students to grasp. 

  • Your programme team along with your Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) will be able to provide guidance on any issues you may be having.
  • In addition, you may find it useful to access the Essential Student Skills online resource.

Careers and employability advice

The Career and employability centre is on-hand to help all students with planning their career. This includes suggesting options for after your course and assistance to help you find work.

Financial support

The UHI Discretionary and Childcare Fund is there to assist students experiencing financial hardship whether it is struggling to pay rent and bills or help with buying books for study.

Student mentors

The Student Mentor Network brings together more experienced students with those new to higher education (or postgraduate study) to share their knowledge and experience. The network provides training and a structure for more experienced students to help those new to the university.

The mentor–mentee relationship is an informal one with meetings often taking place in cafes and other off-campus spaces. There is also the option to meet online or by email with your mentor if they are based in a different area.

Wellbeing and emotional support

Students can often experience stress or find things are getting on top of them. If this is the case, whichever UHI location you are based at will have access to a counselling service or someone to talk to.

We also have a wide range of mental health support.

Your Personal Academic Tutor (PAT)

Every university student will be allocated a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) whose responsibility it is to provide academic support.

They are a point of contact for you to approach should you find you are struggling with your studies or if you need to be referred to specialist services but aren’t sure where to go.

If you are a PGR (Postgraduate Research) student you will not have a PAT but will instead have a Director of Studies and/or a Third Party Advisor who provide similar academic support. If you have any queries about this, please contact the Graduate School

Why care experienced students may need more support at university content

Why care experienced students may need more support at university

Why care experienced students may need more support at university

Entering university can be a daunting experience for any student. If you are care experienced and do not necessarily have the common support structures at home to help you, this can add additional pressure.

If you let us know you are care experienced we can offer assistance to support you through your time at university. This includes providing guidance, additional financial aid, emotional support, and a range of other things in between including acting as a guarantor for accommodation if you don't have anyone else who can do so. We want to ensure that, as a care experienced young person, you are fully supported during your time with us to enable you to successfully complete your course and undergo an enriching and enjoyable experience throughout your student journey. Click the link to find out who the Care Experienced named contact is where you are enrolled.

External support content

External support

External support

Applying to UCAS

If you disclose on your UCAS or university application form that you are care experienced then resources can be put in place early, even before you begin your course. Learn more about 'Why tick the box in Apply?'

SAAS, accommodation student finance

If you are receiving your funding from SAAS (Student Awards Agency Scotland), you could be eligible for a non-income assessed Care Experienced Students Bursary. 

The Hub for Success have created two useful guidance documents which provide all you need to know about the Bursary, for Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) students; Care Experienced Bursary FE FAQs and Care Experienced Bursary HE FAQs

You may also be eligible for help with your accommodation costs during the summer holidays that fall between each year of your course. Find out more on the SAAS Website.


The Scottish Government also help local authorities to provide Discretionary Housing Payments, to help with housing costs for those on a low income. If you have a legal tenancy agreement (i.e. renting, not paying a mortgage) and receive some housing costs through a Universal Credit payment (or Housing Benefit) then you may be eligible. You can find out more on the Who Cares? Scotland website.

Who Cares? Scotland

Who Cares? Scotland have produced some useful guidance. Their Articulation Resource explains the possibility of going straight into the 2nd year of university with an HNC or 3rd year with an HND, while the Guaranteed Offer Guide outlines Scottish Universities' commitment to guarantee places to Care Experienced students who meet the minimum entry requirements.

Useful links content

Useful links

Useful links

Further support and advice can also be found by clicking on the links below:

  • Who Cares? Scotland - a national voluntary organisation, working with care experienced young people and care leavers across Scotland
  • Who Cares? Scotland Helpline - a lifelong offer of advice and support for care experienced people of any age, available Mon-Fri, 12:00-16:00
  • Your Right to Continuing Care - information and guidance about your right (in Scotland) to stay with your carers in foster care, kinship care, or residential care until age 21
  • My Journey - a journal for young people with care experience to record important information, created in the Highlands. For a free copy just email