Call to aid care-leavers

May 20, 2005

The struggle of children in care to progress from school to university - and then complete their degree - was highlighted this week.

Academics at the Institute of Education, University of London, called for universities and local authorities to offer students from foster families or residential care more tailored financial support, help with accommodation and closer pastoral care throughout their studies.

Going to University from Care , the report of a five-year study, found that only one university had a "comprehensive policy" for supporting students from a background in care.

The academics followed the progress of three cohorts of students who were from care - 129 in total. They also conducted surveys of universities.

They found that lack of advice when choosing a university and course, uncertainty about financial support and anxiety about accommodation and changes of foster placements during exams were the main problems.

The academics also found that the average level of debt of students taking part in the study was £11,235 compared with the national average of Pounds 9,210. One student owed £20,000.

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