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Information for estranged students

We live in a society that values family, but what about people who have difficult family situations, or have lost or broken contact with parents and/or other family members i.e. they are estranged from them?

Estranged students are those studying without the support and approval of their parents and often the wider family network. Students in this position often have no contact at all with their family, have removed themselves from a dysfunctional situation or have been disowned.

This may have happened before they choose to come to university or at any time throughout the course of their study.

If you are currently estranged from your parent(s) or carer(s), support and advice is available to ensure that you have the best chance of achieving your full potential whilst at university. We have a dedicated member of staff within Student Development & Well-being who has the role of assisting students who are in this situation.

Important information when applying for Student Funding

If you are estranged from your family, you can apply to Student Finance England/Wales and Northern Ireland as an ‘independent student’. This means that your parents’ income will not be taken into account when you are being assessed for the means-tested elements of the application. Instead, it is likely that only your personal household income will be considered. 

However, in order for your funding body, such as Student Finance England, to award you the correct amount of funding, most estranged students will be required to provide evidence of their personal circumstances. This evidence will demonstrate that the estrangement is genuine and your circumstances are not likely to change in the foreseeable future. Examples of evidence can include a letter from a professional who has been aware of your circumstances, such as a teacher, college tutor, your GP, Support Worker or other professional person. Liverpool Hope University can advise you about what evidence might be appropriate in your circumstances and can provide support in gathering such evidence.

Your funding body will normally ask that you prove your estrangement for each year of your course. Again, the University can support you with this. Just speak to a member of the Student Funds team.

If you are granted independence on the basis of estrangement, your funding body will not take any parental income into account when assessing your eligibility for student funding.

The Stand Alone Student Guide contains helpful information on how to apply for student funding if you are estranged.

What support can I get from the University?

In addition to the support available from Student Development & Well-being, to ensure you have the best possible student experience, we can offer you:

  • advice on the various services and support available to you whilst at university
  • a supportive link between you and your Course Tutors/faculty staff
  • advice regarding any financial help and guidance available to you during your studies
  • help in securing access to university accommodation for 365 days of the year while at university
  • someone to talk to when you need it.

Accessing support

If you are a current student and would like to discuss your situation further, or if you’re thinking about coming to study at Liverpool Hope, please contact Andee Moorcroft, the Student Well-being Officer. He will be happy to answer any questions and discuss any issues you have. 

T: 0151 291 3827
E: moorcra@hope.ac.uk

Useful resources for estranged young people


StandAlone is a charity offering support to people who are estranged from their family or children. Their primary aim is to break down the stigma around estrangement and support estranged people in their daily lives. They have also produced a number of helpful guides designed specifically for estranged students who look at issues such as Student Finance, obtaining relevant evidence of estrangement and accommodation options.  


ButtleUK offers financial support to young people in the UK who are experiencing estrangement to enable them to fully access and participate in education, employment or training opportunities. Grants of up to £2,000 may be available to help you with such things as ‘setting up home costs’.

EaCES Handbook

The EaCES Handbook has been created by current Estranged and Care Experienced Students in the UK anre Ireland to summarise all of the advice and information they know about to support students like them in higher and further education and to share their own lived experiences and stories.


Brightside have produced some useful information for students who are estranged from their family and applying for student finance.