Care Leaver and Estranged Student Information

Is higher education right for me?

This a big question and a big decision for any student but it can seem even more daunting if you are having to go through the whole process on your own because you don’t have any family support or maybe because you have been in the care of a Local Authority.

This guide will provide you with an overview of student finance assessment and gives links to further information and guidance for independent students, Care Leavers and students who are estranged from their parents.

Independent Student Status:

If you’re an independent student, your parents’ income won’t be assessed when working out how much student finance you can get.

If you’re married, in a civil partnership, or over 25 and living with your partner, you will be asked to provide your partner’s National Insurance number and income details.

You can find out more information about independent student status across our websites, including;

Among the categories of student that can be classed as independent are Care Leavers and Estranged students.

Care Leavers:

Care Leavers will be classed as an independent student when being assessed for student finance, however we will require evidence to support this status.

A Letter from your Local Authority or a social worker confirming your circumstances is usually all you will need to submit alongside your student finance application.

A ‘Residency order’ and ‘Care order’ can support your finance application but will not be accepted if this is the only supporting evidence provided.

Alongside your student loan, as a Care Leaver you may also be entitled to receive additional funding from your Local Authority and many universities offer Care Leaver specific support such as bursaries, so make sure you explore all of these options.

Estranged Students:

You might be able to be assessed as an estranged student if you have had no or limited (written or verbal) contact with your biological or adoptive parents for a significant period of time and this is unlikely to change.

A significant period of time is usually considered twelve months or longer prior to the start of your course, but applications are considered on an individual basis.

You cannot apply as estranged just because;

• your parents don’t financially support you
• you don’t get on with your parents
• you don’t live with your parents

Evidence of Estrangement:

If you apply as an estranged student, you will need to give us some evidence. The easiest way to do this is to fill in the Confirmation of Estrangement Form.

Parts of the Confirmation of Estrangement Form will need to be completed and signed by a suitable third party such as your doctor, a social/support worker, a teacher or a student services or wellbeing adviser at your university or college.

You can find this form on your online account once you’ve submitted your student finance application.

If for whatever reason you can’t submit a Conformation of Estrangement Form then other acceptable evidence includes;

• A letter from your social worker
• A letter from a doctor that knows your situation
• A police report showing any related incidents
• A letter from a teacher that knows your situation

For Further Information:

If you are a Care Leaver or an estranged student and would like to find out more about the support on offer to you then please visit the websites of Propel and Stand Alone for in-depth information.

Should you have any difficulties with your student finance application then remember that you can contact the Student Financial Support Adviser at your chosen university or college who can guide you through the process.