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The Why Not You Project

Care leavers face significant obstacles in accessing university that many young people don’t. The path to university can be difficult; children in care often experience significant educational disruption, and may not have adults in their lives to encourage them to apply, or to help navigating the application process. As well as making decisions about what university to go to and what they want to study, care leavers also have to think about where they’re going to live and how they are going to support themselves.

While they are at university, care leavers often struggle financially and have to have part-time, or even full-time jobs alongside studying. Care leavers may have to make decisions about where to go based on accommodation — they may feel that they have to attend a local university if they already have their own tenancy, because they may be worried if they give it up, they won’t have somewhere to live during university.

What is the definition of a care leaver?

The broad definition of a care leaver is any young adult who spent time in care as a child, including: foster care; residential care (commonly known as group homes); kinship care; or other arrangements outside the immediate or extended family. The care could have been provided directly by the state, or by voluntary or private organisations such as Barnardos, the Wesley Mission and many others.

About the Why Not You Project

Of the 48,700 children in care in Australia, only 2.8 per cent will go on attend university — a tiny fraction of the national average. The goal of the Why Not You Project is to increase the number of children leaving care who go on to university, and to help them succeed there.

​The Project:

  • advocates to governments and universities to make sure children leaving care get the support they need to enable them to complete their studies
  • provides a central national portal for information about all of the support available to children in care who want to undertake higher education
  • connects children in care considering university to each other and to care leavers who have already been there.

Project foundation

The Why Not You Project was founded in 2016 by Anastasia Glushko, a former foster child who became a Ward of the State at age 12.

Over the next six years, she lived with three different families, and attended five different high schools.

She went on to study International Relations at the Australian National University and, later, at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom — experiences that she credits with transforming her outcomes.

“It is no exaggeration that going to uni has changed my life. It built my confidence, has opened doors and networks, and enabled to me to travel the world. Uni is where I met my husband and all of my closest friends.

I think the best part is that my education has given me real options: I can choose work that I genuinely enjoy, and can build the kind of life I want for myself. After being in care, knowing you can rely on yourself to take care of yourself is incredibly exciting, even to this day. I want more kids in care to experience all of this for themselves.”

Access the Why Not You portal for further information and resources for students and universities. 

Content provided by the Why Not You Project.

Posted 23 April 2019 Posted in First in Family, General, Low SES