Support for Care Leavers at La Trobe
Have you spent time in out-of-home care (including foster care, residential care, kinship care, and/or being a ward of the State)? La Trobe offers a range of supports to students who have spent time in out-of-home care. Our ‘Higher Education for Care Leavers Strategy’ has even received a national award!
Below you will find information about financial, accommodation, academic and personal support for care leavers at La Trobe.
Applying to La Trobe
Visit How to apply for information on applying to La Trobe. Advice for people who spent time in out-of-home care includes:
- Use the dedicated question in the “Difficult circumstances” section of the VTAC Special Entry Access Scheme to advise us that you spent time in out-of-home care. This could enable bonus points to be added to your ATAR to improve your chances of being offered a place.
- Direct entry after Year 12 is not the only path to university. Some pathways such as the Tertiary Preparation Program, VET & TAFE, and Work Recognition are available whether or not you completed Year 12.
- Attend events such as Open Days and Experience La Trobe to find out more information about the university.
- Contact our Future Students' Centre to discuss any queries you have.
A variety of financial support mechanisms are in place to assist you from La Trobe and from other organisations:
- In 2018, the Care Leaver Bursary is available to commencing undergraduate domestic students who spent time in formal out-of-home care.
- The La Trobe Access Scholarship is offered to a number of students who can demonstrate financial hardship and/or educational disadvantage. The application process enables you to advise us that you spent time in formal out-of-home care.
- The Student Equipment Bursary aims to provide a number of bursaries to domestic students who can demonstrate financial and educational disadvantage to enable them to purchase equipment for study purposes, such as a computer or course related equipment.
- The Patterdale Bursaries aim to support students who are experiencing disadvantage and are studying at the Mildura or Albury-Wodonga campuses.
- The Haven; Home, Safe Scholarship is awarded to a La Trobe University student who resides in social housing and is studying full time at the Bendigo or Mildura campus. The recipient receives $3,000 each year over three years.
- There are many other scholarships (La Trobe specific and external opportunities) listed on our website. Don’t forget to have a look through what’s available, and advise where possible that you spent time in out-of-home care.
- Some financial assistance is available related to specific areas of your study, including ASSC and SHE Employment Grants to assist during placements, and grants should you choose to undertake part of your study overseas.
- There is a range of financial support information and services available to help support students experiencing financial difficulties.
- The Fees & money page includes links to a variety of financial considerations, information, and support. We encourage you to explore this information if the financial impact of attending university is a concern to you.
- The La Trobe Student Union offers a financial counselling service.
- The Australian Government offers the Transition to Independent Living Allowance to eligible young people when they leave out-of-home care.
Did you know that there is accommodation available at most of our campuses to suit students of any age? Accommodation Services offers both Access and Merit scholarships. Be sure to select that you spent time in out-of-home care if applying for an Accommodation Services Access Scholarship.
In addition to providing accommodation, benefits to on-campus accommodation include:
- Furniture, bills, utilities, and the internet are included, reducing additional expenditure.
- Being on campus reduces travel expenditure.
- Residential students at La Trobe tend to outperform non-residential students.
- A range of academic support programs are provided including a textbook borrowing scheme and specialist tutors.
- The students participate in a mentoring program, run by later year residents.
- Student leaders host tailored health and wellbeing programs focusing on healthy relationships, mental health, personal responsibility, financial fitness and physical wellbeing.
- Extensive orientation and transition programs are provided. These programs along with ongoing cultural, sports and social activities can help establish and maintain relationships with friends and support staff.
If you don’t want to live on-campus, we have information about off-campus accommodation options as well. This includes an off-campus accommodation database for students looking for share or rental accommodation close to campus.
The following organisations also offer supported accommodation to disadvantaged youth engaged in study and/or training:
- Education First Youth Foyers: accommodate young people who can’t live at home. There are Education First Youth foyers at Broadmeadows, Glen Waverley and Shepparton. To be eligible, a young person needs to be aged between 16-24 and keen to get into and commit to staying in education and training.
- Foyer Plus: Melbourne City Mission provides long term supported housing along with services for education, training, employment and intensive casework support to young people aged 16–25 (who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless) to help them reach independence.
- Haven; Home, Safe: provides homelessness support, low-income housing assistance, and programs to help those in need.
- Other Foyers: there are other education, training and support foyers in Victoria.
Academic and Personal Support
Explore the new students section for important tips for once you’ve enrolled. Make sure you attend orientation events to find out important information to assist you in your university life, and use the Connect Mentors to help you settle in.
La Trobe has a broad range of academic support services to assist students including:
- Drop-in learning support for one-on-one assistance from Peer Learning Advisors and Student Learning Lecturers.
- Starting out at uni provides useful resources and guides for all students, whether they’re starting out or need additional guidance along the way.
- Student learning provides information to help you develop skills throughout your course
A range of additional support services are also available to help you throughout your time at La Trobe including:
- Counselling and mental health services.
- Careers advice and employability services.
- Support available for students with a disability, mental health condition or long term medical illness.
- Support for students with a refugee background.
- Support for Indigenous students.
- Onsite childcare at our Bundoora campus.
- Support for students who have experienced or witnessed unacceptable or concerning behaviour.
The La Trobe Student Union offers its own range of student support services including a second-hand bookshop, emergency housing, financial counselling and emergency aid, advocacy, and legal aid.
The CREATE Your Future website has information for young people leaving care, including: information about money, everyday living, work, study, relationships, health, and support services. CREATE have also produced 'Go Your Own Way' kits for young people preparing to transition from care.
The Beyond 18 website contains links to a variety of resources for young people who are leaving or have recently left out-of-home care.
Youth Central is the Victorian Government's website for young people aged 12-25. It is filled with great information and articles about studying, your rights at work, health and managing your money.
Higher Education Guidelines for Students
Participate in a Survey
CREATE's National Survey
CREATE commenced another national review to determine what has improved and identify areas that might still need work in the care system. CREATE’s National Survey research offers children and young people with a care experience the opportunity to share with CREATE, their experiences living in the care system. Find out more.
On Friday 28th July 2017, two of La Trobe’s current care experienced students spoke alongside a student from Federation University at an Education Forum hosted by the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare. You can listen to these students speak about their experiences of getting to and succeeding at university here:
Care leaver stories
Read the story of La Trobe social work student Nicola-Jean Berry.
About La Trobe’s Care Leaver Strategy
La Trobe’s Care Leaver Strategy is informed by our leading research, Recruiting and supporting care leavers in Australian higher education [PDF 1.44 MB] and Out of care into university: Raising higher education access and achievement of care leavers [PDF 1.27MB]. This research has led to the development of targeted programs such as the Care Leaver Bursary and has also provided a strong basis for broader national reform.
Our Centre has conducted internationally leading research into higher education outcomes for students from an out-of-home care background.
Recruiting and supporting care leavers in Australian higher education
This report follows a multi-state, cross-institutional analysis of care leavers in Australian higher education; and explores how universities attract and support care leavers.
Out of care into university: Raising higher education access and achievement of care leavers
This report mapped the higher education sector in relation to people from out-of-home care backgrounds. It sought to increase the visibility of the out-of-home care cohort and to provide a strong information base for future policy and research work. This report has been widely referenced in Australia and internationally, for example.
- The Senate Community Affairs References Committee report into Out of Home Care [PDF 2.52MB];
- The CREATE Foundation Position Paper on Education and Out-of-Home Care [PDF 480KB];
- Research by Western Sydney University titled Children in Out of Home Care: Should we give them a Fair Go?;
- The Causes of differences in student outcomes report to HEFCE by King’s College London, ARC Network and The University of Manchester [PDF 2.58MB].
Higher Education Guidelines
As part of our research, we have developed two sets of national guidelines. One set of guidelines demystifies higher education for care-experienced prospective and current students and their carers. The other set of guidelines raises awareness of the specific needs of care leavers for university staff.
La Trobe University and Federation University Australia’s Higher Education for Care Leavers Strategy won the Equity and Opportunity category of the 2017 Australian Financial Review (AFR) Higher Education Awards.
Read La Trobe's media release here.
On Friday 23rd September 2016, the Centre for Higher Education Equity and Diversity Research (CHEEDR) hosted Reach for La Trobe at our Bendigo campus. The event provided young people in out-of-home care (kinship care, foster care, wards of the state etc.) with a taste of university life. Carers, case workers, teachers, service providers and support people attended the parallel sessions which provided information about entry pathways, and the services and support offered by the University.
Information for Community Service Organisations
If you are from a community service organisation and would like further information about La Trobe and our support of young people from out-of-home care backgrounds, please email email@example.com.