Estranged students

We offer specific support to estranged students. Estranged students are young people studying without the support of a family network, usually due to a long-term breakdown in the relationship with their parents or guardians.


Key Information

  • At the University we support estranged students who are under the age of 25 and have had no communicative relationship with their parents/guardians for at least 6 months, with the situation unlikely to change.
  • If you have been assessed as Independent by Student Finance on the basis of being estranged you will be eligible for additional support at University. If you have not yet been assessed as estranged by Student Finance, we will look at your case on an individual basis and you may still be eligible for support.
  • Please note, you will not be considered estranged only on the basis that you live separately from your parents, have recently fallen out with your parents, or your parents are unwilling to complete income assessment forms or financially support you.
  • If you are unsure whether you are an estranged student, or what you may be eligible for, please contact our Care Experienced and Estranged named contacts on

This page and the linked documents outlines the support we offer to current students.

  • We recognise that some estranged students may face different and/or multiple hurdles during their time at university and we want to offer you as much support as possible. This is why we hope that you will let us know if you are an estranged student, or if you become an estranged student during your studies.
  • We understand that some students prefer to have a fresh start and might not want to be ‘labelled’ as estranged. However, only your named contacts will only know unless you want us to tell anyone else. It is up to you how much or how little contact you want from us. We will regularly keep in touch if this works for you, or we will just occasionally email you to tell you about any support or new opportunities, or alternatively you can opt out of contact from us altogether – but we hope you don’t make this decision as we are very friendly!

Throughout your studies you will always have a named contact from the Student Support Team. If you are a current student this will either be Jabeen Akram or Ailsa Skelly who you can reach on If you are a prospective student, your named contact before you arrive is Emma Lewis-Kalubowila who you can reach on

Jabeen and Ailsa both do the same role, so you can speak to either one of them if your assigned contact is unavailable. They can:

  • Help you navigate and access university support services such as the Careers Service, Counselling and Mental Health Service, your School Support Office and the Disability Advisory and Support Centre.
  • Help you with things like accommodation, finances and settling in to university.
  • Provide a listening ear and are available for meetings whenever you would like to talk to someone.
  • Meet with you when you start at Manchester.
  • Arrange for someone to help you move in to your accommodation.
  • Keep you updated with news and opportunities.
  • Put you in touch with other estranged students at the university, if you would like this.


                Emma                               Ailsa                           Jabeen


If you are an estranged student, you should be classed as an independent student when applying for Student Finance which could mean that you will receive the maximum tuition fee and maintenance loan. You will need to complete a Confirmation of Estrangement Form and provide evidence to Student Finance of your estrangement. If you are having any difficulties with this, you can email your named contact on You will might also be eligible for:

  • The Manchester Bursary: we will use the information you provide to Student Finance to allocate The Manchester Bursary. As an Independent student you will receive £2,000 each year for the duration of your undergraduate course.
  • Living Cost Support Fund: estranged students are a priority group for the University’s Living Cost Support Fund, so if you experience any financial difficulties during your studies you can make an application to the fund for financial support. It is important that you include detailed information of your circumstances and status as an estranged student in the personal statement section of the application.
  • Budgeting Advice: you can speak to someone from the Student Support Team for budgeting advice specific to you and your circumstances. 
  • Help me get online: if you are struggling to pay for a laptop you can request a laptop loan from the University.
  • Access to Recreation Grant - Students can claim up to £250 (in advance or after spending) towards University and Union registered recreational activity.
  • The University of Manchester can provide year round flexible accommodation for 52 weeks. This can be for the duration of your course if you wish, or just for your first year and/or second year of study. We will be able to assure you that no guarantor is required, and as an estranged student we will also be able to organise you booking your room without an Advance Licence Fee Payment.
  • After your first year you may decide to rent private accommodation. Manchester Student Homes is a University run private sector housing service for students who can check the legality of contracts and can provide a list of accredited student accommodation providers and landlords. 
  • The Careers Service can see you throughout your time at Manchester. They can help you to explore work experience opportunities (including our work experience bursary that you are likely to be eligible for) and other activities available to make the most of your time at Manchester. She is also on hand to discuss careers that might suit you, how to apply for jobs, updating your CV and anything else relating to your plans for the future. 
  • As an estranged student you will also be offered paid work at the University as a Student Ambassador. The Student Ambassador role is a flexible, part time position where you will be an ambassador for the University and a role model for prospective students. Whilst this is a great opportunity to earn some money, it will also help you to develop some great skills, for example around communication, teamwork and social and cultural awareness.
  • As a student at Manchester you also have access to our wider support offering that includes both pastoral and academic support, and Jabeen and Ailsa can assist you with navigating this support. For course support you can speak to your assigned Academic Advisor, you can also access the University’s study skills programme My Learning Essentials and you can also use the University's Peer Support offering. 
  • Stand Alone - is a UK organisation that has been established to support anyone who has become estranged from their family, or primary care giver. As an institution, we are signed up to the Stand Alone pledge to show our commitment to supporting estranged students. We have strong links to Stand Alone and can refer you to them for specialist support or advocacy service. Stand Alone also run several events and workshops throughout the year that offer emotional support to anyone dealing with the impact and issues of estrangement.
  • Buttle UK - provides  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 students whose parents are unwilling to provide their income details, as well as estranged students finding it difficult to evidence independence.
  • This Is Us - The This Is Us community (TIUC) is a dedicated and safe online space for estranged and care-experienced HE students and recent graduates in the UK to connect, share info, arrange meet-ups and more! It’s free, national, and open to all ages & years of study
  • Free sim with Internet Access  - Any Manchester resident (over the age of 18) who is on a low income and struggling to pay for internet access can now get a free SIM loaded with free data.

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