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 which recognise the hurdles you face and actively seeks to break down these barriers and 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)

The legal side of “estranged”

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 do seek advice from askUS ( 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 we can offer

Applying for Student Finance

You can apply for Student Finance by yourself from

  • 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, as 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

Financial support

Estranged Student Summer Bursary

We offer a summer bursary of £500 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 or contact the team.

Emergency Award for Estranged Students

We offer a £500 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.

Accommodation support

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.

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 is Wednesday 25th May 2022. Any applications submitted after this date may not be considered

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..

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 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 uni. Email directly so we can provide you with support and set up a one-to-one appointment with you. 

  • It is completely normal to want or need to seek additional emotional support at university. We have a dedicated Wellbeing team who will be able to speak with you about anything that is worrying you and refer you into counselling if you’d like. They can be contacted on +44 (0)161 295 0023 (option 1, option 1), on email at or through the referral form.
  • We also have a dedicated Disability and Learner Support team who will be able to support you with getting extra support in place. It’s best to contact them before you start university so they can get your support in place before you start. They can be called on +44 (0)161 295 0023 (option 1, option 2) or emailed on
  • We have also set up an instant messaging service to connect our estranged students and prospective students who are estranged. If you’re interested in joining, then please let us know by emailing

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