Care leavers

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!

Support for care leavers at La Trobe

Below you will find information on how to apply to La Trobe as well as financial, accommodation, academic and personal support that is available for care leavers at La Trobe University.

For more detailed information and/or advice, please contact Ness the Raising Expectations Project Coordinator.

Phone: +61 (0) 3 9479 2900

Email: raising.expectations@latrobe.edu.au

Applying to La Trobe

Visit how to apply for general information on applying to La Trobe University.

Advice for people who have 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.
  • Attend events such as Open Days and Choose La Trobe to find out more information about the university.
  • Visit The Future Students Centre, or call 1300 135 045.

Financial support

A variety of financial supports are in place to assist you:

Accommodation support

Did you know that there is accommodation available at most of our campuses to suit students of any age? Be sure to select that you spent time in out-of-home care.

A care leaver accommodation scholarship is available via the VTAC application process. The scholarship is valued in credits ($5,000) which is equivalent to a semester of accommodation. For more information, you can contact Access Schemes and Scholarships at VTAC or Scholarships at Trobe University.

Benefits of choosing 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.

If you don’t want to live on-campus, we have information about off-campus accommodation options for students looking for shared 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.
  • 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

La Trobe has a broad range of academic support services to assist students:

  • The Learning Hub offers help with assessments and study from Peer Learning Advisors (PLAs) and expert staff. Specialist help is also available for English language, academic writing (including theses) and Library skills.
  • Wellbeing Services can connect you with personal support around harassment and discrimination, confidential counselling support, AccessAbility Advisors for those who may have neurodiversity support needs, or live with or have a mental health condition, ongoing medical condition or disability, Spiritual Wellbeing Advisors, Men’s Health and Wellbeing, Indigenous Health and Wellbeing and LGBTIQA+ community support programs.
  • You can speak to a Careers Advisor if you’d like advice about finding a job, work-based learning, or volunteering opportunities; provide guidance on how you can make decisions about your career, and connect you to programs to develop your career readiness.
  • Student Union and Associations provide many services and support to students at La Trobe University.

More resources for care leavers

Since 2015, La Trobe University has been part of the Raising Expectations project. Originally funded by a Sidney Myer Fund Grant (2015-2018), the Raising Expectations project aims to increase the number of young people in care and care leavers accessing higher education and succeeding. The project is led by the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare (CFECFW), with La Trobe University and Federation University Australia as partners. Swinburne University also joined the project in 2018.

La Trobe University’s efforts on the project are led by Associate Professor Andrew Harvey, Director of CHEEDR, and include: improving data capture on care leavers at the point of application and enrolment; increasing outreach to flexible learning schools and care(r) organisations; improving support for enrolled care leavers through the provision of bursaries and scholarships; raising awareness of the specific needs of care leavers as an equity group through the development and distribution of guidelines for university staff; and influencing institutional, state and national research and policy agendas.

In August 2019, the Victorian Department of Education and Training announced an additional $1,050,000 in funding to extend the Raising Expectations project until December 2022. Previously, the Victorian Department of Education and Training provided $200,000 in funding for the project (2018 - 2019).

Joseph Farren

Read the story of La Trobe human services and social work student Joseph Farren

Nicola-Jean Berry

Read the story of La Trobe social work student Nicola-Jean Berry

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 Young People 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.