What is an ‘estranged’ student?
Generally, estrangement means the student has little or no contact with their parents (either biological or adoptive) and this is unlikely to change.
Each application for estrangement will be assessed on the student’s individual circumstances.
Common examples include students who are living with friends, in supported accommodation, or with other family members such as aunts, uncles or grandparents. Some may have only known one parent who is recently deceased. In other cases students may have no relationship with their biological parents and do not receive any emotional or financial support.
In certain circumstances, students may have very limited contact for specific reasons, for example, they’re still in touch with siblings. These students can still be assessed as estranged from their parents. These are reviewed on an individual case basis.
What does estrangement mean for a student finance application?
When students estranged from their parents apply, they will not be asked to provide their parents’ financial information. Instead, these students will be assessed as independent. This means that once we’ve received evidence confirming their estrangement, we will award them the maximum amount of Maintenance Loan available.
Generally, students will be assessed as estranged for the full duration of their course. However, if the estrangement is recent (usually within the last 12 months) or reconciliation appears possible, a student may be asked to provide more evidence when they apply for student finance in the following years of their course.
Students should always apply for their student finance as soon as possible. This will help to make sure their tuition fees are paid and they get some money to cover their living costs in time for the start of their course.
What evidence do we need to confirm estrangement?
If the student already has evidence, providing a copy of this is usually the fastest way to prove estrangement. For example, they can send us a letter from a doctor, teacher or support worker which confirms that they're not in contact with their parents.
If the student does not already have evidence, they should complete a Confirmation of Estrangement Form. This form allows the student and a third party to confirm the information we need.
How do students provide evidence of estrangement status?
To upload evidence online, students should follow these steps:
- Locate the evidence we have requested
- Get a clear and readable digital copy of their evidence. They can take a photograph or scan to do this
- Go to www.gov.uk/student-finance-register-login
- Log in with their student finance login details
- Upload their evidence and click submit
Students can also send evidence of their estrangement to:
Student Finance England
PO Box 210
What else do estranged students need to know?
Universities and Colleges can provide estranged student support, with advisers usually found within the Student Services, Student Wellbeing or Student Union Teams. Students can indicate that they’re estranged on their UCAS application. This gives universities and colleges an early opportunity to contact students about the support they can offer.
The charity Stand Alone offers a wide range of support to people experiencing estrangement from family. This includes a student finance guide.
Students or professionals can write to The Student Loans Company’s specialist team for estranged students at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve created a short guide to estrangement which you can pass to students.
The Confirmation of Estrangement Form is also available.