Guide

Support for students from a Care-Experienced background, who have caring responsibilities, or who are estranged

Updated on 5 October 2022

The University is committed to supporting students with a background in care, have caring responsibilities, or who are estranged, find out what personal and financial support is available.

On this page

Applying to the University of Dundee

We know that circumstances in your personal life can affect your school or college grades. Therefore when you apply for a place at the University of Dundee we ask that you let us know about these when asked during the application (whether you apply using UCAS, Clearing, or Direct for Postgraduate).

Letting us know will allow us to consider your application against our contextual admissions policy, which could include a Widening Access offer, a place on Summer School or similar. 

If you would like to visit the University for a tour, talk with current students, or if you have any questions about your application, you can contact our Applicant Enquiry Team who can discuss your circumstances and put you in contact with relevant colleagues.

You can also contact our Student Funding unit before applying to discuss the financial support available to you while studying.

Care-Experienced/care leaver students

"Care-Experienced" 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 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.

In Scotland, public bodies such as colleges and universities are considered "corporate parents" which means we have a legal duty to ensure Care-Experienced students are not adversely affected at University due to their history of Care-Experience. Our Corporate Parenting policy defines the terms of the action plan developed to improve outcomes of looked after children.

As a Care-Experienced students you have a named support contact to provide the best support possible.

The University's Corporate Parenting Action plan for 2022-24 can be found here.

Accommodation

As a Care-Experienced student you are eligible to access 365 day accommodation in University residences. You need to apply before the deadline given each year. Email our residences team to discuss.

Further external resources can be found via LIVE Smart

Students with caring responsibilities

Many students combine their university studies with caring responsibilities. The University defines a carer as someone who looks after another person on an unpaid basis who otherwise could not manage on their own. This might be because they have a long term physical or mental illness, a disability, are getting older, or are dependent on drugs or alcohol. 

This is not the same as looking after children – see advice for students with children.

You may have started university as a carer, however for others this may happen unexpectedly part way through your studies.

Whatever your situation, it's important to let the University know, so that we can ensure you have access to all the right support personal, academic, and financial.

You can let the University know about your caring responsibilities by contacting the Enquiry Centre to speak with a Student Support Adviser.

We also recommend that you speak to your Adviser of Studies or Programme Leader about your circumstances, so that they're able to offer support and discuss any adjustments or flexibility that you might need in relation to your studies.

Local carers advice groups

Further external resources can be found via LIVE Smart

Estranged students

Our definition of an estranged student is "someone who no longer has the support of their family due to a breakdown in their relationship which has led to ceased contact". This might mean biological or adoptive parents or wider family members who have been responsible for supporting a student in the past.

We provide a range of personal and financial support to help you with the challenges of studying in these circumstances.

Estranged students you have a named support contact as a single point of contact to provide the best support possible.

Funding information for estranged students

Further external resources can be found via LIVE Smart

Named support contact

Joan Muszynski (Student Support Adviser) is the University’s support contact for all students who are carers, Care-Experienced, or estranged.

Whether you let us know about your status during the admissions period or not, you can contact her via phone or email. It is her role to:

  • provide regular catch-ups, sustained support, and impartial advice throughout your time at University
  • help you access support from services available across the University or externally
  • be your personal support contact
Student services

We have a range of support services that are here to help you. The University provides a range of support for students with caring responsibilities, who have been in care, or who are estranged is in addition to the usual student support provided for students in general.

Enquiries

Joan Muszynski

Student Support Adviser

+44 (0)1382 384932

j.m.muszynski@dundee.ac.uk

Guide category Student support