At City, we recognise that starting university can be an exciting but at times challenging process. If you are estranged from your parents or key family member, then starting university may pose additional concerns. Our City Cares team provides financial, pastoral, and educational support to estranged students, from application stage through to graduation and searching for employment.
“I was worried that becoming an independent student would be held against me, so it was useful to have City Cares in my corner backing me and reminding me that my circumstances weren’t my fault” - Estranged, International Politics and Sociology graduate, now master’s in international politics and Human Rights student
What is a young, estranged student?
The term "estranged" means that you have permanently lost familial contact. This means that you have not had any contact with your family for a significant period of time. If you are 25 or under at the start of your course and have a permanent lack of contact with your parents or key family member, then you can identify as a Young Estranged Student.
Have you spent time in local authority care?
If you have spent any amount of time in care when you were growing up (even if you no longer receive support from a local authority), then you can access City's support package for care leavers. For more information, visit our support for care leavers page.
Student Finance England
When applying for funding from Student Finance England it is possible to claim independent status due to estrangement from parents. This would then mean that your own personal household income will be taken into consideration for the means-tested elements of support, instead of your parent's income.
To do this, you will need to submit evidence to support the claim of estrangement. Examples of proof that you can provide:
- A letter from a social worker (if you have one)
- If you claimed Income Support before the age of 18, a letter from your local Job Centre Plus office showing that you received benefits because of your personal circumstances
- If your relationship with your parents/ key family member broke down while you were still at school or college, a letter from a teacher, personal tutor, or support worker, to confirm your situation
- If you have needed to visit a doctor because of the circumstances relating to your estrangement, a letter of confirmation from your doctor.
Letters should be on headed paper and signed by the referee (with their contact details included).
The charity Stand Alone has great resources, support for students and a guide for applying for student finance.
- Access to the City Cares Bursary - students who meet the eligibility and have disclosed their status to the Financial Support Team will be awarded up to £3,500 each year of their studies for up to three years. This only applies to first year undergraduate students who get in touch before 31st October of their first year.
- Hardship Fund - students who find themselves in financial hardship can apply for the Hardship Fund
- Opportunities for part-time work through our in-house temping agency Unitemps - find opportunities for on and off-campus work.
Buttle UK support grant
Buttle UK offer a support grant of up to £2,000 for estranged young people aged 16-20 so that they can further their education or employment. This can be used to help with the costs of study equipment, setting up home and improving emotional and physical wellbeing.
All students can access a range of services and schemes across City. Please make sure you let us know about your personal circumstances so we can support you fully.
- The Student Centre - includes the Student Advisors Team, Financial Support Team, Accommodation Team, and International Advice Team. You can meet with Student Advisors, to discuss any questions or concerns surrounding student life and they can support you or signpost you to relevant services
- Academic support - for support with disability, dyslexia and other Specific Learning Differences (SpLDs) and academic skills. Attend workshops and 1:1 sessions to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your studies
- Careers - throughout your time at City, the Careers Service can offer you the opportunities and guidance to fully prepare you for life after graduation. They hold events focused on specific industries with exposure to potential employers, CV help, interview practice, career guidance and access to graduate roles/placements/internships
- Counselling and mental health - access a range of counselling services and specialist mental health mentoring for ongoing emotional support
- Health Centre - for a daily nurse-led drop-in clinic and advice on a range of health issues including minor illness and injury
- Chaplaincy and faith advisory - for additional support and advice for students and staff of all faiths and none. They hold drop-ins and bookable appointments, visit their page for more information
- Peer Mentoring - CityBuddies is for new students to be matched with a second or third year student from the same course (where possible) to help you settle in to student life
- Professional mentoring - for second and third year undergraduates. A development opportunity that enables students to engage in a six-month mentoring relationship with a person in industry. This is aimed at those with minimum work experience, who would like to build their confidence and feel that they need professional guidance.