Care-experienced students

By care-experienced, we mean anyone who has been or is currently in care or from a looked after background at any stage of their life, no matter how short.  This care may have been provided in one of many different settings, such as in residential care, foster care, kinship care or looked after at home with a supervision requirement. 

We work closely with care-experienced students at every stage including advice on the best route for you to get into university and working with those who might not think university is for them.

Tracey Kerr, our Widening Participation Manager, is the named point of contact for care-experienced students up to and including the transition to university –

We are also one of the core partners of the Hub for Success which provides individual information and advice on education opportunities, accommodation and finance, both on a drop-in basis and by making home or campus visits. 

Here is the support we can offer pre-enrolment: 

  • Applying to the University - we realise that it can be difficult for care-experienced students to get the entry qualifications needed for university which is why we guarantee those students who have the ability to get the minimum entry requirements an offer of a place at the University. Remember to tick the relevant box on the UCAS application form. This will allow us to make you a minimum offer and contact you about the support you are entitled to 
  • We have put together guidance to help students complete your UCAS application.  UCAS also provides dedicated advice for care-experienced students who are applying to university. 
  • How to get into the University – if you are not sure if you are studying the right courses, or wondering what courses to choose, we can help you figure out the right route for you 
  • Help for advisers – if you think we can help with your work, or if you are working with someone who you think we can help, let us know and we will help in any way we can 
  • Financial support – care-experienced students can apply for our Heriot-Watt Access Bursary and our travel fund. There is also a range of dedicated financial support from other sources. There is detailed information on our Student Support pages for care-experienced students. Make sure you check what you are entitled to. 
  • Accommodation – the University will guarantee year-round accommodation to any care-experienced students who need it. There is more information on our accommodation pages, and you can email our accommodation team – – for more details. 

When we look at your application we might ask you to provide evidence that you are care-experienced. This could be a letter from the relevant social work department, support worker, head teacher, principal, lecturer, or other suitable person. If you are not sure who you could ask to help with this then get in touch. We realise this can be difficult, especially if your care experience was a long time ago. 

Once you are a University student, or if you are supporting a new or current University student, Emma Smail in our Wellbeing team can help you – There is more information on our care-student support pages for care-experienced students.