Unite Foundation Scholarship

Who is this information for

This information is for students who are care leavers or estranged from their parents. 

What is the Unite Foundation Scholarship Scheme?

The Unite Foundation Scholarship Scheme offers free, year-round (365 day) accommodation for care leavers or students estranged from their parents at a designated Unite Students property for three years of undergraduate study.

The accommodation will be a single en-suite bedroom in a shared flat with a communal kitchen and close to Sheffield Hallam University (SHU). It will be available all year round, including through the holiday periods, for as long as you are eligible for the Scholarship. Occasionally you might need to move flats temporarily to allow for maintenance, redecorating, etc.

Last year (2019-2020) there were 128 applications for 90 Scholarships, therefore just over 70% of applicants received a scholarship. SHU received 7 scholarships of which 5 were given to new undergraduate students and 2 given to students already studying at SHU.

For 2020/2021 there will be 80 scholarships available nationally.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible to apply for a Unite Foundation Scholarship you should be either:

A care leaver (England, Northern Ireland, Wales)

Care leaver is a legal status that can begin at age 16 and last until 25 if in Higher Education. There are several different categories of care leaver, but all legal definitions are eligible for the Unite Foundation Scholarship Scheme.

Care experienced (Scotland)

The Scottish authorities define a care experienced student as being aged 16 years or over but under 26 and having, at any time in their lives, been looked after by a Local Authority.

Estranged from your family

Students who are deemed as estranged by funding bodies are eligible to apply for the Unite Foundation Scholarship. Student Finance (SFE, SFI, SFW) or Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) must consider you as an independent student based on being estranged from your parents and you are permanently not in contact with them.

In addition to care leaver or estranged status you must also be all of the following:

  • aged 25 or under on 1st September 2020

  • studying at, or holding a firm choice offer from SHU starting September 2020

  • undertaking your first and only course of undergraduate study (i.e. you have not studied at university before)

  • a UK home fee status student (i.e. not an international student)

  • in receipt of, or applying for, student finance or NHS funding reflecting care leaver/care experienced/estranged student status

Years of study that are excluded from support are:

  • foundation year (including Year 0 of an extended degree programme)

  • years involving study credits toward a Masters whether that be post graduate or integrated with a Bachelors

  • resit years

  • repeat years arising as a result of changing courses

  • years in which you are aged 26 or older at 1 September

How to apply

The guidance notes and application form can be found at the bottom of this page. Please read both carefully.

You must apply through the University which is your firm choice (first choice on UCAS). If SHU is not your firm choice, you can check if your firm choice provides the scholarship here.

If SHU is your firm choice please return your completed application and supporting evidence to shu-progress@shu.ac.uk by midday on Monday 1st June. Please try and complete your application as early as possible so that if there are any problems there is plenty of time for these to be resolved. Please note Unite will not accept late applications.

Supporting evidence:

If you are a care leaver (England, Northern Ireland, Wales): ask your Local Authority for a letter on headed paper confirming that you are a statutory care leaver. Ask them to include in this letter the support they will provide for you whilst you are at university.

If you are care experienced (Scotland): ask your Local Authority for a letter on headed paper confirming that you are care experienced or, you can provide the letter from SAAS (Student Awards Agency for Scotland) confirming your care experienced bursary.

If you are estranged: you need to provide evidence that Student Finance considers you as an independent student on the basis of estrangement. This needs to be a letter on headed paper. If you do not have this you need to provide a copy of your student finance arrangement and copies of the supporting documents you supplied to them as evidence of your estrangement. For guidance on how to prove estrangement to Student Finance England visit www.sfengland.slc.co.uk/estrangement.aspx

For more information and examples of evidence please see the Unite document.

Please note an application does not guarantee you a scholarship but provides you with a chance of receiving one.

How does applying for the Unite Foundation Scholarship relate to applying for accommodation at SHU?

Applying for accommodation at SHU and applying for the Unite Foundation Scholarship are two separate processes. Therefore you will still need to apply for accommodation online: www.shu.ac.uk/study-here/accommodation

If you are applying for accommodation:

  • you must choose 4 residences. We advise that you select a Unite property as at least one of your choices. This is so that if you are a successful applicant, the accommodation team can place you in a Unite property.

  • please make it clear on your application that you are applying for the Unite Foundation Scholarship. You can do this by writing “applying to the Unite Scholarship” in the notes field of your accommodation application.

If you have already applied:

  • contact Accommodation Services and tell them that you are applying for the Unite Foundation Scholarship (accommodation@shu.ac.uk)

Please note if you sign a contract with an alternative accommodation provider, you will be liable to meet the terms of that contract.

How to get help with your application

If you need any help with your application then you can contact the SHU Progress Team on 0114 2254777 or email us at shu-progress@shu.ac.uk

Please do this as soon as possible to give us the best chance of being able to deal with any problems.

Next steps

Once you have sent us your application, we will check both it and the evidence. From this we may:

  • be happy that you have provided all the evidence and completed the form correctly and we will email you to confirm this

  • have noticed concerns about your application (for example missing information) and we will contact you about this

Unite will award the scholarships and SHU has no influence on who is chosen. You will hear back from Unite in early July about whether you have or haven’t been successful.