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

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

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 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. 

Scholarships and bursaries

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 a free place in halls for students who have experienced barriers in progressing to higher education. 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.

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.


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. 

Events target area image

At DMU there is always something to do or see, check out our events for yourself.

News target area image

DMU is a dynamic university, read about what we have been up to in our latest news section.

Mission and vision target area image
Mission and vision

Read about our mission and vision and how these create a supportive and exciting learning environment.