Estranged Students (Students with no parental support)

“Estranged” is a legal term used by the Student Loan Company to describe someone who has no contact with their parents because of a breakdown in the relationship. This also means that you can’t be means-tested on their parental income for the maintenance loan. However, the impact of this situation is not all about money, it is more often about the trauma and hurt, the effect on your mental health and the isolation and lack of support you may feel.

We recognise this and have a small team that you can talk to if you want. We were one of the first universities in the UK to sign the Stand Alone Pledge that recognises the hurdles you face and actively seeks to break down these barriers. In 2019 we won the Stand Alone award for best mental health support for Estranged Students.

Contact the estranged student specialists in askUS
Phone: +44 (0)161 295 0023 (option 1, option 3)
Email: studentdiversity@salford.ac.uk

The legal side of “estranged”

  • If you are “estranged” you are considered to have experienced “irreconcilable estrangement” from both your parents on or before the first day (usually 1 September) of the academic year you are applying for funding
  • Usually you are classified as “estranged” if you have not been in contact with your parents or guardians for at least a year before your application, though the Student Loan Company does recognise that this is not always the best indicator of estrangement and are flexible on this
  • All applications of "estrangement" are assessed on a case-by-case basis, with the outcome being based on the evidence you provide. So, if you have not had verbal or written contact with both of your biological or adoptive parents for a significant period of time, and that is not set to change in the foreseeable future, then you may be able to apply for Student Finance as an independent student
  • If you have suddenly become estranged (either while at university or during application) or cannot find anyone to support your estrangement please seek advice from askUS (studentdiversity@salford.ac.uk) as we may be able to help fill in the estrangement form for you (acting as your third party, even if we have not met you yet)

Note for care-experienced students

If you have spent some time in care but are not being supported by a local authority Leaving Care Team, you may be able to get independent status as estranged.

  • We can advise you on this: make an appointment with our askUS Specialist Advisers
  • It is always best to check with your local authority if you have had no contact with them for a while as gaining independent status as a care leaver can be easier than getting it via the estrangement route

Support we can offer

If you need help or advice about your estrangement, register with us as an estranged student then make an appointment. We can:

  • Advise you on collecting evidence for estrangement
  • Act as your third party for Student Finance if necessary
  • Help you with any other issues you may be facing
  • Connect you to other University services such as wellbeing and counsellingaccommodation and financial support within askUS
  • Help refer you to other University services outside of askUS

Support

Applying for Student Finance

You can apply for Student Finance by yourself through the Government's Student Finance website.

  • When you get to the section that asks whether you are a dependent or independent student, tick the box that states that you are “irreconcilably estranged from your family”
  • Send in supporting evidence
  • Complete the Confirmation of Estrangement Form with Student Finance England

It’s best to send as much supporting evidence as possible. All applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis and the more evidence you provide, the quicker Student Finance England can reach their decision. Any delay in this process could affect the date you receive your student loan payment.

If you'd like someone to help guide you through the process, you can contact the askUS team at studentdiversity@salford.ac.uk.

Financial support

Estranged Student Summer Bursary

We offer a summer bursary of £550 from Student Finance for students that have independent status due to estrangement as we realise that you will have extra costs over summer like additional rent. To find out more, see the full terms and conditions at the bottom of this webpage or contact the team.

Emergency Award for Estranged Students

We offer a £550 emergency award that can be applied for at any point in the academic year via the Salford Support Fund. This is also open to students that do not have their independent status from Student Finance and is on top of any other amount you may receive from your Salford Support Fund assessment. You will still need to provide evidence of estrangement or negative support from family to the team when applying for the award. See the full terms and conditions at the bottom of this page.

Accommodation support

Student halls

If you stay with our Partner Accommodation that’s run by Campus Living Villages (Peel Park Quarter or John Lester and Eddie Coleman) then we may be able to provide additional support.

  • CLV offer 52-week contracts for estranged students to make the gap between academic years easier for you by letting you stay in their accommodation over summer
  • They can organise for you to book your room without paying the deposit and rental advance up front, and delaying it until the first instalment of your student loan comes in
  • If required, we are able to organise for you to stay at the accommodation for all three years of your study through our ‘Protected Returner’ scheme

If you’d like to find out more about any of the above, please get in contact with us.

Unite Foundation scholarship

We are also University partners with the Unite Foundation, who have a scholarship that can provide up to three years of free accommodation whilst you’re at university.

  • You can find out how to apply on the This Is Us website and if you’re successful you’ll get your accommodation without having to pay rent or bills for up to three years
  • The application deadline for submitting applications to us was Wednesday 25th May 2022. Any applications submitted after this date may not be considered

Guarantors

We’ve also become partners with Housing Hand, which can act as a guarantor for your accommodation.

  • If you’re in your second or third year at university then we may be able to cover the cost of using Housing Hand
  • If you are in your first year at Salford then we have an exclusive price of £250 or 8 monthly payments of £35. Please contact the team for further information.

Contact us for accommodation support

If you ever need any advice or support on accommodation, then we have accommodation specialists within askUS who can help. They also work alongside Manchester Student Homes, who will check the legality of contracts and can provide a list of accredited student accommodation providers and landlords. The accommodation team can be contacted on askus-accommodation@salford.ac.uk or by calling +44 (0)161 295 0023.

Emotional support

The estrangement support team within askUS is here to be your first point of contact at the University and, while we usually only deal with non-academic enquiries, we can put you in contact with other areas of the University. Email studentdiversity@salford.ac.uk directly so we can provide you with support and set up a one-to-one appointment with you.

External support

Stand Alone

Stand Alone is a UK organisation that has been established to support anyone who has become estranged from their family, or primary care giver. They also run several events and workshops throughout the year that offer emotional support and well-being development to anyone dealing with the impact and issues of estrangement, though there may be a cost to some workshops.

We have strong links with Stand Alone and we can refer you to for specialist support or for advocacy services.

Stand Alone have conducted loads of research into Estrangement Support and links to some of their reports can be found below.

Other support

  • Buttle UK provides thousands of grants to young people in the UK, often when there is no other source of help available to you. One particular grant that might be available to estranged young people is the Students and Trainees Programme
  • The Students and Trainees Programme awards financial support to young people (aged 16-20), who are estranged from their parents to attend education. There are criteria and eligibility for this programme, so please ensure you check this first
  • Brightside has some useful information for students whose parents are unwilling to provide their income details, as well as estranged students finding it difficult to evidence independence
  • Turn2us is a free service that helps people in financial need to access welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help. Their website has a free and easy to use benefits calculator and grants search
  • UCAS have launched a handy guide to applying as an Estranged student and how to access support whilst at university

Salford Estrangement Support Awards - Academic Year 2022/23

This award is for students with no family support or negative support from family. You will find terms and conditions for the Summer Bursary and the Support Award below.

Last updated 27 September 2022.

 

Support Award terms and conditions 2022/23

1. Award details

The award is to support a student’s learning and living costs and is available to UK full-time and part-time students who are struggling financially, have declared themselves as estranged or having a negative or poor relationship with family and were under the age of 26 when starting their current programme of study at the University of Salford.  

In Higher Education the word estrangement is used by Student Finance to describe a student with no relationship with either parent (adoptive or biological) and would not be able to provide information for means testing. At Salford we use a wider definition to include little, no or negative support from parents and carers. These students can also apply for this award.  

2. Value

Eligible students will be awarded a one-off payment of £550. The £550 payment is in addition to any amount awarded by the Salford Support Fund from a standard assessment. This will be based on their application to the fund which will look at recent bank statements to assess spending and will take into consideration the need for further funds.  

The Salford Estrangement Support Award is limited to 60 awards of £550 and will be awarded following an assessment by the Money Advice and Funds Service.  

3. Application process

Application to the Salford Estrangement Support Award will be through the standard Salford Support Fund application. This can be requested by contacting the askUS enquiries team on +44 (0)161 295 0023 (option 2, option 3), emailing askus@salford.ac.uk or visiting the askUS desk at University House. Please ensure that you tick the box on the form confirming your estrangement and upload your evidence.

4. Eligibility

To receive the Salford Estrangement Support Award, students must meet all the following criteria:

  • Be verified as an estranged student or a student with no/negative support by the Student Experience & Support Team
  • Be studying a course either delivered by the University on the University’s main campus (including Media City) or at a UK partner college: Salford City College, Bury College or Hopwood Hall
  • Be classed as a   Home student (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Republic of Ireland) for fee purposes
  • Have consented to the sharing of data submitted to Student Finance

For the 2022/23 academic year students must be registered and in attendance on a full-time or part-time course being delivered by the University at its main campus either at the University or a UK partner college (Salford City College, Bury College or Hopwood Hall). This includes those students on a Higher National Certificate (HNC) course, postgraduate students and foundation course (level 3) students.

The award will be given to those who meet the eligibility criteria at the University at the time of allocation (please note: there are only 60 awards available each academic year).

 

Those not eligible for this award:

  • Students who are not classed as home for fee purposes, or whose fee status is unresolved
  • Students who were not ordinarily resident in the UK (i.e. England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, also included is the Republic of Ireland) at the start of their course
  • Students studying on a degree apprenticeship course
  • Students already in receipt of the Care Leaver Bursary
  • Students who have been assessed by the Salford Support Fund team as ineligible for financial support due to money mismanagement

5. Verification of estrangement status

Verification will be undertaken by the Student Experience & Support Team, who will cross-reference information provided through UCAS, Online Registration and Student Finance. When necessary each student who has declared their status will be invited to attend a triage session to verify their status and eligibility for the Salford Estrangement Support Award.  

Students who have self-declared as estranged will be asked to provide evidence. In line with recommendations from Standalone, the evidence may take the form of any of the following:  

  • A letter from a member of staff at school or college which explains that they knew about the difficult relationship whilst the student was at school and their subsequent estrangement
  • A letter from the student’s doctor explaining that they have consistently, and historically reported difficulties associated with estrangement
  • A letter from a social worker or local authority that shows they were aware of the student’s difficult situation and/or they allocated them a child protection order
  • A letter from a counsellor or an organisation such as Stand Alone, National Association of People Abused in Childhood or Karma Nirvana that can vouch for the fact the student has been seeking support for their estrangement or disownment
  • A letter from a housing support worker who may have helped the student find accommodation after they left home. A letter from a member of the clergy, a rabbi or imam explaining that they were aware of the difficulties in the student’s family and their subsequent estrangement
  • A statement of incident from the Police that shows any callouts, arrests or cautions involved in the case
  • Appropriate evidence for any student who is still in contact with their family but has a poor, controlling or negative relationship with them

There are additional sources of evidence that would be considered suitable, but if the student is unable to provide the evidence requested, the specialist adviser will discuss this in further detail at a triage session. They should indicate this on the application form and an adviser will be in contact to discuss this further.

6. Use of awards

 Awards are not transferable and should be used to assist with living costs.

7. Payment of the award

  • All cash payments are paid by BACS into a UK bank account only
  • The account must be held either solely or jointly in the name of the registered student. Payments cannot be made into the account of another person
  • It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that they provide up-to-date bank details to the University allowing time for the payments to be made

8. Assessment criteria

Please note: evidence must be provided in the online application.

  • Students can only apply once per academic year
  • Students will need to provide their rent agreement showing monthly payment amount
  • Students will need to provide full bank statements for the 3 months immediately prior to submission of an application for ALL of their bank accounts
  • Students will need to provide a personal statement as part of the standard support fund application
  • Further evidence may be required as part of the standard Salford Support Fund application

Summer Bursary terms and conditions 2022/23

1. Award details

The £550 cash bursary is to support a student’s learning and living costs and is available to UK undergraduate full-time and part-time students verified as estranged and under the age of 25 when starting their course. 

In Higher Education the word estrangement is used by Student Finance to describe a student with no relationship with either parent (adoptive or biological) and that is not able to provide information for means-testing. At Salford we use a wider definition to include little, no or negative support from parents and carers. This bursary is however for those can verify that they fall within the Student Finance definition. There is a separate fund for those that do not (see Salford Estrangement Support Award).  

All students who declare their status as estranged either through UCAS or the Online Registration will be eligible for the award provided they have gained independent status with Student Finance for estrangement. This will be verified by the Student Experience and Support Team.

2. Value

Every eligible student will be awarded a £550 cash bursary. Part-time students will have access to the same amount as full-time students, but their awards will be pro-rata over the scheduled minimum duration of their courses. All verified estranged students who fit the eligibility criteria will be supported by the University.

3. Eligibility

The £550 bursary is paid out in June of the academic year. Bursaries will be awarded to those who meet the eligibility criteria at the University at the time of allocation. To receive the bursary students must meet all the following criteria:  

  • Have applied to Student Finance as an estranged student and been successful in qualifying as an independent student through estrangement. If help is needed with this process contact us at studentdiversity@salford.ac.uk
  • Have applied to Student Finance as an estranged student previously and been successful in qualifying as an independent student through the birth of a child – student must provide additional evidence of estrangement if requested by the verification team
  • Be verified as an estranged student by the Student Experience & Support Team
  • Be studying a UG course either delivered by the University on the University’s main campus (including Media City) or at a UK partner college: Salford City College, Bury College or Hopwood Hall
  • Be classed as Home, (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Republic of Ireland) for fee purposes. 
  • Must have consented to the sharing of data submitted to the Student Loans Company
  • Have met the required progression criteria for their course
  • Must be at the correct level of study
  • Must not have been previously registered with the University for any course except where the student is progressing from a foundation course to the first year of an undergraduate course (level 4)

For the 2022/23 academic year students must:

  • Be registered on a full-time or part-time undergraduate course being delivered by the University at its main campus either at the University, a UK partner college AND must be paying the maximum undergraduate fee of £9,250 per year. This includes those students on a Higher National Certificate (HNC) course; OR
  • Be registered and studying a foundation course (level 3) delivered either by the University at its main campus or at a UK partner college: Salford City College, Bury College or Hopwood Hall

Those not eligible for this bursary:

  • Students who are not classed as home for fee purposes, or whose fee status is unresolved.  
  • Students who were not ordinarily resident in the UK (i.e. England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland) or the Republic of Ireland.  
  • Students studying on a degree apprenticeship course.  
  • Students in receipt of the Care Leaver Bursary  
  • Students who have a relationship with their parents / families  
  • Students deferring entry – subject to awards still being available, students holding offers for a deferred entry will be considered for an award the year they start their course.  
  • Students who are studying at postgraduate level

4. Verification of estrangement status

Each student who has declared their estrangement will be invited to attend a welcome session to verify their status and discuss their personalised learning support and eligibility for the Summer Bursary.

Verification will be undertaken by the Student Experience & Support Team, who will cross-reference information provided through UCAS, Online Registration and the Student Loans Company. Each student will need to verify their independent status (due to estrangement) with Student Finance to be eligible for the Estrangement Bursary.

Students who have self-declared as estranged will be asked to provide evidence to Student Finance. In line with recommendations from Stand Alone, the evidence may take the form of any of the following:

  • A letter from a member of staff at school or college which explains that they knew about the difficult relationship whilst the student was at school and their subsequent estrangement
  • A letter from the student’s doctor explaining that they have consistently, and historically reported difficulties associated with estrangement
  • A letter from a social worker or local authority that shows they were aware of the student’s difficult situation and/or they allocated them a child protection order
  • A letter from a counsellor or an organisation such as Stand Alone, National Association of People Abused in Childhood or Karma Nirvana that can vouch for the fact the student has been seeking support for their estrangement or disownment
  • A letter from a housing support worker who may have helped the student find accommodation after they left home. A letter from a member of the clergy, a rabbi or imam explaining that they were aware of the difficulties in the student’s family and their subsequent estrangement
  • A statement of incident from the Police that shows any callouts, arrests or cautions involved in the case
  • Completion of the SLC Estrangement Form for self-assessment (with an askUS Specialist Adviser)

There are additional sources of evidence that would be considered suitable, but if the student is unable to provide the evidence requested, the Specialist Adviser will discuss this in further detail at the triage session.

5. Use of awards

Awards are not transferable and should be used to assist with living costs over the summer.

6. Payment

  • All cash payments are paid by BACS into a UK bank account only
  • The account must be held either solely or jointly in the name of the registered student. Payments cannot be made into the account of another person
  • It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that they provide up-to-date bank details to the University allowing time for the payments to be made
  • Any students not claiming their bursary may claim at a later stage in their course, but the payment cannot be back-dated

7. Withdrawal or freezing of the award

  • Changing a course and starting again at level 3 (foundation  year) or 4 (first year undergraduate). Students who, having started a course, subsequently change courses starting again at either level 3 or 4, will not be eligible for the award against the new course. The original award will remain, but there will be no second payment against the new course. Once the student progresses onto the next level they will be eligible for the appropriate award to be made for that year of study
  • Temporary breaks in study. Students who arrange with the University to interrupt or leave their course on a temporary basis will have their award frozen until they resume studies
  • Suspension of study. If students are suspended by the University, their award will be frozen until the suspension has been lifted
  • Repeat/extended study. Repeat periods of study and temporary breaks in study that lead to repeat periods of study will not qualify for any additional award. The award entitlement is for the scheduled minimum duration of the course and is not extended for any student
  • Leaving or being removed from the course. Students who leave or are removed from their course will not be expected to repay the amount of their awards which have already been spent. However, the accounts of these students will be closed, and any remaining award will not be available to them and entitlement to all future payments will stop on the date they leave or are removed
  • In accordance with the Student Privacy Policy, the askUS team and the Schools will need to liaise to verify student status and eligibility to receive payment