Policy for students under the age of 18 years


It is a condition of admission to the University that the parent or legal guardian, or just one parent if that parent has sole legal responsibility, of any student who is under the age of 18 years confirms, by signing and returning the enclosed form, their acceptance of the arrangements set out in this document; once the student reaches the age of 18, these accepted terms will automatically be regarded as agreed by the student.


The University of Leicester is committed to equal opportunities in its admissions; this is underpinned by the University’s Single Equality Scheme. All applications are considered on their individual merits. Occasionally the University admits students who are under the age of 18 years. These students and their families should understand that the University of Leicester is an adult environment; students are expected to act as adults and to assume adult level of responsibility.  Students are expected to have the necessary skills to study and live independently alongside people from a wide variety of ages and backgrounds.  Places are offered on the understanding that the students will be able to adapt to living away from home and deal with the practicalities that this involves. The University treats all its students as independent, mature individuals and students who are under the age of 18 years will be treated in the same way.

However, the University acknowledges that anyone under the age of 18 is legally a child and recognises that students under the age of 18 may therefore have different needs in relation to their support and wellbeing. Staff in support services, accommodation and academic departments work together to ensure the wellbeing of students under the age of 18 is maintained accordingly.

Parental responsibility

The University is not able to take on the usual rights, responsibilities and authority that parents have in relation to a child, and it will not act in loco parentis in relation to students who are under the age of 18 years.

Next of kin (emergency contact)

It is particularly important that emergency contact details are provided for students under the age of 18 and such students and/or their parents are required to supply this information prior to their registration with the University. Students under 18 will not be allowed to register on their course unless this information is provided.  For students whose parents are not in the UK, this could be a UK Guardian. See ‘Additional advice for students under 18 and outside the UK’ at the end of this document.


In rare instances, consent for emergency medical treatment may be required before parents or guardians can be contacted. The University therefore requires parents to give their consent that, in the case of such an emergency, a senior member of the University has permission to act on medical advice and do what is in the best interests of the child. By signing the enclosed form, the student’s parents or guardians indicate their consent to act in this way.

Parents or guardians are responsible for ensuring that the University has been informed of any special needs or requirements.

Parental involvement

It is the University’s usual policy to deal with students and not with parents; this approach will also apply to students who are under the age of 18 years.  Although those under 18 are regarded as children under UK law, they still have the legal right under the Data Protection Act (2018) for information about them not to be disclosed without their explicit consent. This means that the University is not able to give information to parents regarding the student’s progress, results or any other personal circumstance unless the student has given specific consent. The University will therefore correspond with students, not parents

Child protection/safeguarding

As a matter of law, a person under the age of 18 years is a child. The University has a responsibility to protect those under the age of 18 years from abuse and is obliged to report any suspicions or allegations of abuse of children to the appropriate local authority children’s safeguarding service. Any such suspicions or allegations will be reported to the University’s designated safeguarding lead, who will contact the appropriate authorities.

Notification of age of student

The relevant Head of Department and Residential Support Manager will be notified, prior to registration, of any student within their Faculty or residence who will be under the age of 18 years on entry to the University. The Personal Tutor and relevant members of the Residence Life team will also be notified. Teaching and other staff will not routinely be made aware of a student’s age.


As a general rule, those under the age of 18 are unable to enter into legal contracts. Where contracts are required, e.g. for tuition fees or accommodation, the University requires parent or guardian to act as guarantors and to honour all obligations under any contracts with the University that the student enters into prior to his or her 18th birthday. By signing the enclosed form, the parent agrees to this. Failure to pay debts due to the University could result in studies being suspended.

Student accommodation

Under 18’s are normally allocated to ensuite accommodation but this cannot be guaranteed. Parents should recognise that residential accommodation offered by the University is generally intended for the use of adults and that, save in exceptional circumstances (e.g. relating to health issues or disability), special arrangements cannot be made.

Field trips

Courses may involve compulsory or optional field trips, excursions or other periods of study away from the University. The University is not able to take any additional responsibility for a student who is under the age of 18 years in relation to such activities. Unless indicated otherwise, by signing the enclosed form the parent/guardian gives consent for the student to take part in these activities on that basis. Students taking part in exchange programmes with other institutions will be required to adhere to the policies and procedures applicable to that place.

Alcohol and tobacco

It is illegal for alcohol or tobacco to be sold to or bought by individuals who are under the age of 18 years.

The University will take reasonable steps to seek to ensure that the law is not broken in relation to licensed premises under the University’s control but cannot undertake to supervise any individual student. Individuals are subject to random checks in relation to their age when using any licensed premises in the UK. The Students’ Union is responsible for ensuring that appropriate arrangements are in place for its own licensed premises.

Relationship with staff

Under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000, it is a criminal offence for any person in a position of trust (which may include members of University staff) to engage in sexual activity with someone who is under 18 years.

Holding office

Students who are under the age of 18 are encouraged to join University or Students’ Union clubs and societies but are not able to hold office until after their 18th birthday (this is because Officers carry legal responsibilities). Their participation in certain activities may be limited.

Fostering arrangements for students aged under 16

Where a child under 16 will not be living with a parent/guardian, you will need to notify the University of the person who will be caring for your child during their studies.

Additional advice for students under 18 and outside the UK

If you are under the age of 18 when you apply to the University of Leicester and your parents live outside the UK, the university requires that you provide details of a guardian based in the UK. This is as well as parent or guardian details of who normally looks after you. The university also needs to know who you would want us to contact in the case of emergencies.

The UK based guardian may be a relative or friend of your family but you should ask for their consent before providing the University with their contact details.

The University will only be able to register you as a student once you have provided details of the UK based guardian. If however you do not have a contact in the UK who is willing and able to act as a guardian then there are agencies who will, for a fee, make arrangements for you. The Association of Educational Guardians for International Students (AEGIS) inspects and provides accreditation to guardianship organisations in the UK in line with current UK legislation.

If you do not have a contact in the UK then you will need to make arrangements to obtain a guardian before completing and returning the consent form and you will not be allowed to register as a student until you have provided all details.

Changes to next of kin/emergency contact/guardian details

You must inform the University straight away if there are changes to any of the contact details provided. You will need to complete the under 18 updating emergency contact details form, and send this to studentservices@le.ac.uk

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