Estranged young people

Young people who have a permanent lack of contact with their parents may have additional considerations when applying and studying in higher education. These should not, however, be seen as barriers to entering or progressing at university. 

The Transitions Team can assist in a range of issues that can affect a young persons studies, either prior to enrolling at DMU or as an enrolled DMU student, we can provide:

  • Advice and guidance for Student Finance England applications
  • Advice about other funding opportunities, such as from Buttle UK
  • Guidance in addressing housing issues

Applying to university

September - October

Students register on the UCAS website and start to make their university choices. It's a good idea to have made a draft of your personal statement over summer and see if there are any gaps. This will give you some time to take on extra activities to enrich your statement. UCAS have also developed Going it alone? - useful information aimed specifically at estranged students.

Make sure you have attended university Open Days - if you would like to have a chat with a member of the Transitions Team during one of DMU's Open Days then please contact us.

November - March

Offers will start to be made, these may be:

  • Unconditional offer – application has been accepted and a place has been allocated
  • Conditional offer – application will be accepted and a place allocated, provided that certain exam results are met
  • Rejection – unsuccessful application

You may be expected to attend an interview as part of the application process.


UCAS deadline

February - March

Start to apply for your student funding. You can do this before you have secured an offer of a place at university

Student funding

Student Finance England

When applying for funding from Student Finance England it is possible to claim independent status due to estrangement from parents. This means that your personal household income will be taken in to consideration for the means-tested elements, instead of your parent’s income. To do this you will need to submit evidence to support the claim. Examples of proof you could provide are:

  • A letter from a social worker (if you have one)
  • If you have claimed Income Support when you were under 18 years, a letter from your local Job Centre Plus office showing that you received benefits because of your situation
  • If your relationship with your parents broke down while you were at school or college, a letter from an advice worker, personal tutor or teacher, confirming your circumstances
  • If you have visited your doctor because of problems relating to your broken relationship with your parents, a letter to confirm your circumstances

If you need helping proving estrangement contact the Transitions Team on, or +44 (0)116 257 7595. 

Estranged Student Bursary

DMU offers a £1,000 per year bursary to students who are identified as estranged by Student Finance England/Student Loans Company. Although you don’t have to apply for this bursary, you will need to make yourself known to the Transitions Team to ensure relevant payment.

UNITE Foundation Scholarship

The UNITE Foundation Scholarship offers free accommodation for students from a care background or who are estranged from their parents.

Buttle UK

Buttle UK provides thousands of grants to young people in the UK, often when there is no other source of help available to them. One particular grant that might be available to estranged young people is the Students and Trainees Programme.

The Student and Trainee Grants programme awards financial support to young people (aged 16-20), who are estranged from their parents to attend education.There is particular criteria and eligibility for this programme, so please ensure you check this first.


Brightside has some useful information for for students whose parents are unwilling to provide their income details, as well as estranged students finding it difficult to evidence independence.


StandAlone is a charity set up to support people who are estranged from their family or children. They have produced a guide for students who are applying for independent status from Student Finance England and Wales.  More information is available on their website.


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. 

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