University of London press release


A new scholarship has been launched to support the accommodation costs of University of London students who have left care or are estranged from their families.


Part of the Unite Foundation’s ‘Home at University’ initiative and the University of London Scholars programme, the scholarships are open to students studying at the University of London’s member institutions who are care experienced or estranged from their family. Students applying for their first year of undergraduate study are eligible and the scholarship will cover the full accommodation and in-house catering costs for 365 days a year for up to three years of study in one of the University of London’s residential halls. The agreement is worth £185,000 over three years.

There are nine scholarships available, with at least three places reserved for students from the 14 London Boroughs* where The Portal Trust has a specific interest.

The initiative is a match funded scheme between the University of London, the Unite Foundation and The Portal Trust. The University of London was selected by the Unite Foundation, and partner The Portal Trust, in recognition of its commitment to widening access and participation.

In July 2022 the University launched its University of London Scholars programme to enable students from disadvantaged backgrounds to access higher education. The programme supports over 30 students each year, including care experienced and estranged students, providing them with financial and pastoral help throughout the duration of their studies. The partnership with the Unite Foundation and The Portal Trust is an extension of this successful programme.

“We believe that everyone should have access to higher education, regardless of their family background or circumstances. Students who are care experienced or estranged often face additional challenges in attending university compared to their peers, including securing safe and stable accommodation for all years of their degrees. “We are grateful to the Unite Foundation and their funding partners for helping us to ease some of the hurdles disadvantaged students face and supporting us in our mission to make education accessible to all.”

Professor Wendy Thomson
Vice-Chancellor of the University of London

About the University of London

The University of London is the UK’s leading provider of digital and blended distance education internationally, offering programmes to 45,000 students in 190 countries around the world. Although proudly rooted in London, our community and impact are global.

We are a national leader in the humanities, and we promote their value to society and the economy through knowledge creation and exchange.

We are also a federation of 17 esteemed higher education institutions, with collaboration at the heart of our ethos. The University of London federation is a collective community of more than 240,000 learners and 50,000 staff, delivering world-leading research across all disciplines.

Our passion for increasing access to education and mobilising the collective power and expertise of the federation is central to our ability to transform lives around the world and address the global challenges of the future.

Applications are now open via the Unite Foundation website, find out about how to apply here.

“We’re delighted to be working with The Portal Trust and the University of London on offering these new scholarships. Recent data released by The Student Loans Company shows that one in five of all care leaver and estranged students have chosen to go to university in London. We’re therefore excited that these scholarships will unlock more opportunities for the significant number of care experienced and estranged students who choose to access higher education in London.”

Fiona Ellison
Unite Foundation Director

“We shouldn’t underestimate the impact or the stability of being able to call a place ‘home’, has on young people leaving care for the first time. Being able to walk into a home without the worry of meeting the cost, is a crucial first step on the path toward addressing the problems faced by young people leaving care and supporting them through their educational journey. “The Portal Trust aims to help improve outcomes for care experienced students and is pleased to be able to work collaboratively with the University of London and the Unite Foundation in supporting this strategic project.”

Richard Foley
Chief Executive of The Portal Trust

Notes to editors

  1. For more information, contact Siobhan Pipa in the University of London press office –
  2. * The Portal Trust London boroughs are: Camden, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, Westminster and the City of London.