Website launched to help care leavers access higher education

Propel, established by The Who Cares? Trust, aims to reduce the numbers of care leavers forced to drop out of higher education

Photo: Monkey Business/Rex Shutterstock

A new online resource to help care leavers into higher education has been launched today.

Propel’, will list the pastoral and financial support available to care leavers at each UK higher education institution. It has been set up by The Who Cares? Trust to try and help care leavers, and the professionals who support them, make informed choices about higher education.

Care leavers are six times less likely to attend higher education than other young people and the proportion attending has remained static since 2009. The charity hopes the website will help reduce the numbers forced to drop out of courses and encourage more young people to pursue higher education.

What support is on offer

Information on 83% of all higher education institutions in the UK, and 41% of further education establishments that offer higher education courses, is available on the website. Data collected by the charity revealed 91% of all institutions have a member of staff responsible for supporting care leavers, and more than three-quarters offered dedicated outreach activities to care leavers.

“If a young person is considering higher education, practical worries, such as the fear of taking on debt, being unaware of the support they are entitled to and not knowing where they will live out of term-time, are often overwhelming,” the charity said.

‘Shameful societal failure’

Natasha Finlayson, chief executive of the charity, added: “Our research shows that two in five young people in care say they want to go on to higher education – but most will not get the support and encouragement they need to make it that far.”

“With Propel, we aim to put some of the power back in these young people’s hands and give them the opportunity to see that higher education is within their reach,” she said.

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