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 person's 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


Support for Estranged Students

Applying to university

Visit our dedicated webpages for more information about how to apply for a course at university. You should try to attend a DMU Open Day to help inform your decision on which course to study. If you’d like to meet a member of the Transitions team before applying please contact us on

UCAS have introduced a tick box for students who are estranged when applying to university. It's important to tick this box as it may help you access additional financial support from DMU and help securing accommodation.

Student funding

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 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. 

Student Accommodation

Online bookings for DMU allocated accommodation normally opens in the March before students start their course. The DMU Accommodation webpages contains all the information you about options available.

Accommodation Guarantors and Deposits

Students who don't have contact with their family can experience some challenges when searching for accommodation. These challenges are often in the form of finding a suitable guarantor and enough funds to pay a deposit and/or advanced rent. 

Our DMU managed accommodation can be an ideal solution to these issues as you do not need a guarantor and the payment terms are much more flexible. You will be able to use your student loan to pay for the rent, as the instalments are due after you are scheduled to receive your first instalment of Maintenance Loan.

DMU managed accommodation are Bede Hall and New Wharf Hall.

If you need any advice about accommodation guarantors please contact the Transitions Team on

Scholarships and bursaries

DMU Support

Please note that the DMU Scholarships and Bursaries Terms and Conditions apply to funding detailed below.  Students studying at a partner institution are not eligible for support from DMU, contact your institution for details of bursaries available to you.

DMU offers a package of up to £6,000 to eligible undergraduate students who are assessed as independent due to estrangement by Student Finance England/Student Loans Company, consisting of:

DMU Estranged Student Bursary - £1,000 per year bursary.

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.

Summer Accommodation Award - up to £1,000

At DMU we are acutely aware that summer accommodation, and the cost of this, can be a concern for students who don’t have a family base whilst at university. For this reason, we offer eligilble* students receiving the Estranged Student Bursary an additional financial support to help with the cost of summer rent.

The Transitions Team will normally start contacting students directly in March to administer this fund.

*Those students eligible for the NHS Training Grant are not eligible for the Summer Accommodation Award.

Final Year Award - up to £1,000

Students receiving the Estranged Student Bursary are also eligible for an additional bursary of up to £1,000 in their final year (conditions apply).

Unite Foundation Scholarship

The Unite Foundation Scholarship offers a free place in halls for students who are estranged from family or care leavers. Students who are estranged from their family are a priority group for this Scholarship and we would encourage you to apply. For more information and to download an application form please visit the scholarship webpage. If you would like any advice or help completing the form please contact the Transitions Team.

The Unite Foundation have closed their application cycle for 2023/24. Visit their This Is Us website for more information about the Foundation.

Wellbeing and disability support

 DMU provides support and signposting for your health and wellbeing, you can book an appointment at any time while at university. If you are an applicant and have a pre-existing condition we would encourage you to make contact with the team.

External resources

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. Buttle UK can provide financial help to young people who receive no support from their parents or guardians so that they can further their education or employment.


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.


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.

The EaCES Handbook

The EaCES Handbook is a website of summarised advice and information created by current Estranged and Care Experienced Students (EaCES) in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The website contains guidance on a variety of topics affecting estranged and care experienced students, including: accommodation, bereavement, LGBTQ+, healthy relationships and more.


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.