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Estranged Students FAQ

This FAQ section has been provided by StandAlone, the UK's leading charity in estrangement matters throughout the UK. StandAlone work alongside the Student Loans Company, to provide the most relevant and up-to-date information, based upon research and student feedback to ensure that students who affected by estrangement can access the same level of higher education as anyone else. For more information and to access StandAlone's advisory service, please visit their website: http://standalone.org.uk/

When can I apply for independent status as a student "estranged from parents"

You are eligible to be considered for independence on the basis of being ‘irreconcilably estranged from your parents’ if you have not had verbal or written contact with both of your biological, adoptive parents or your only living parent for a significant period of time and this will not change. A significant period of time is usually considered twelve months or longer prior to the start of your course, but this can also depend on your circumstances. Many people feel unsupported by their parents financially and/ or emotionally, but you won’t be eligible to claim estranged status simply because your parents are on low income and don’t support you financially. You will need to provide statements from an independent person with good standing in the community that can verify that there has been no communication with both of your biological or adoptive parents, or only living parent, for a substantial period of time before the start of your course, and that your estrangement from them is irreconcilable.

What happens if I didn't tell anyone about the difficulties in my past or my estrangement?

If you don’t have supporting documents, don’t panic! It’s wise to explain this in writing to Student Finance England, Wales or Northern Ireland when you apply and, if you feel comfortable, explain some of the circumstances that will help the operative build a picture of the estrangement. They will direct you regarding which further evidence you might be able to supply and what they need you to do.

If you are in this situation, it is also advisable to contact your dedicated person or team at your current or first choice university, who may be able to help you to find the right person to provide a supporting statement. You can find the right person to get in touch with by clicking here. They will be able to help you to explore the situation with you and direct you to supporting statements you can supply.

What supporting statements do I need to provide to show I am "irreconcilably estranged" from my parents?

IA supporting document or statement is a letter or statement of evidence by a an independent person with good standing in the community which satisfies Student Finance England, Wales or Northern Ireland that you are irreconcilably estranged from your biological, adoptive or only living parents. The operatives will look at these documents and make a decision about your case.

If you are asking to be considered as independent and "irreconcilably estranged from parents" you must send at least one primary supporting statement from an independent person with good standing in the community. This person should normally have known about your situation for a substantial amount of time, and can verify that you don't have contact with your biological, adoptive or only living parents. This person must not be related to you or be a close friend of the family.

You can also send additional secondary statements from a family friend or another family member that can verify your circumstances and your estrangement from your biological parents. But this alone will not be sufficient to verify your circumstances, and you will need an additional supporting statement from an independent person who is not related to you and with good standing in the community.

For example, if you are in care or have recently left care this independent person could be your case worker, social worker or housing support officer. Or if you are at (or recently left) school or college it could be a teacher or tutor who has known you and about the difficult situation with your parent(s) and your subsequent estrangement.