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Help support independent students

Student Finance England

This article or update has been provided by Student Finance England or Student Loans Company

Publication date: 29 August 2019

When students apply for the maximum student finance available to them, we usually use their parents’ income to work out how much they can get. However, for some students it’s impossible or extremely difficult to provide their parents' information. These students may be able to apply as independent students.


A student can be considered independent for different reasons

Click on the relevant circumstances to find out what evidence the student will need to send:

They’ve been married or in a civil partnership before the start of the academic year. Even if they’re now divorced or separated

If they’re currently married they need to send a copy of their marriage certificate.

If they’re now divorced or their civil partnership has dissolved they need to send a copy of their decree absolute or dissolution order.

They have care of a person under the age of 18 on the first day of the academic year which they’re applying for support

They need to send a copy of the child’s birth certificate and evidence that shows they’re caring for the child, for example, a Child Benefit letter.

They’ve supported themselves financially for at least three years before the start of their course

They need to send evidence that shows how they’ve supported themselves, for example, copies of P60s, Benefit statements, Pension statements, payslips.

They have no living parents

They need to send certified copies of their parents' death certificates.

They’re estranged from their parents and this is not likely to change

They need to send a signed and dated letter from a professional person, such as a doctor or teacher confirming:

  • their relationship to the student
  • the length of time they have known the student
  • the reasons for estrangement from their parents
  • if this is likely to change

They’re a care leaver

They need to send one of the following:

  • care order confirmation documents
  • a letter from ‘Foyer’ or other supported housing scheme
  • a letter signed and dated by a professional person who is not a friend or relative, such as a doctor or teacher, detailing the student’s situation.

For more information on care leavers, check out our care leavers blog.

Support available to independent students

Independent students can apply for full student finance without providing any financial details from their parent(s).

If a student is independent and they have a partner, they may need to provide their partner’s information if they want to apply for the maximum student finance available to them.

We’re here to help

We know that students’ circumstances aren’t always straight forward and your students might have more questions.