What is estrangement?
If you are estranged from your parents, it means that you are permanently out of contact with them. When it comes to student finance and extra support, it doesn’t matter why you are not in contact, or how long it has been, although you will have to provide evidence of your estrangement.
You aren’t considered estranged if you are in touch with one or both of your parents, even if you don’t live with them. However, if you are living independently, you might still be considered an independent student when applying for student finance.
How estrangement affects your student finance
Some parts of the student finance package are based on your parents’ income. Normally, if your parents don’t provide information about their income then you will receive the minimum amount available. However, if you’re estranged, you can have your student finance based only on your own income.
Proving that you are estranged
You need to provide evidence of your estrangement when you apply for student finance. This will normally be a letter from a professional person who knows about your situation, such as a teacher, doctor or social worker. You could also include evidence showing that you have claimed benefits in your own name while under 18.
Access to Learning Fund
If you have financial trouble because of estrangement, you might be able to get extra money from the Access to Learning Fund to help with this. For example, this could cover the extra cost of accommodation over the holidays if you don’t have a family home to go back to.
Some universities offer bursaries for estranged students. If your university offers this, you won’t normally need to apply separately: they will have the information from your student finance application and will give you the bursary automatically. If you’re not sure if your university offers a bursary, or you think you should have received one but haven’t, contact the student services department.
StandAlone is a charity that supports estranged people, including students. They offer support groups and workshops, help with proving you are estranged when applying for student finance, and finding accommodation during the holidays.
Buttle Trust grants
The Buttle Trust offers a grant of up to £2,000 for young people who are estranged from their parents. You can apply if you are under 21 and in further or higher education.
To apply, you will need to be referred by your college or university. Contact the student services department for help with this. You won’t need to provide evidence again if your college or university already knows about your situation.
- Getting financially prepared for uni
- What evidence do I need to provide with my student finance application?
- What to do if your parents won’t support your student finance application