Estranged Students (No Parental support)



Has your relationship with your family completely broken down? Do you have no communication or functioning relationship with either of your biological parents, and no physical or financial support from them? Is this situation expected to be irreconcilable?

If you answer ‘yes’ to these questions, you may be considered an estranged student and be entitled to extra support during your time at University. Please note that we are only able to support UK Home Rated students.

In light of the recent closure of the charity StandAlone, please click here to find our StandAlone legacy pledge to students, confirming our commitment to supporting students studying without the support of a family network, and to continue to improve upon and develop our offering for estranged students.

As a first step, get in touch with Lisa Firth – our contact for estranged students – for an informal and supportive chat to find out how we might be able to help you. If you'd like to book an appointment, please email We can arrange a call back with you if you send an email to the above address.


"The Plus Programme has helped me to have a firm base to get to know people and to get out of my comfort zone as soon as I got to university. It really made me feel like part of a community, especially before starting my course. Whenever I need guidance, advice or just a catch-up, I know I can go to someone at the Plus Programme and feel instantly welcomed.- Meegan

Below is a summary of some of our offering available to estranged students at the University of Leeds as well as other useful links for information and guidance.


Ways we can support you

Funding and Finance

Our team offer a £50 welcome payment to estranged students in September/October of the first year of your degree. 

Students who can evidence that they are estranged from their parents, and are in receipt of either the Leeds Bursary or the Undergraduate Means-tested Scholarship, will be eligible for an additional £2,000 per year. If you are asked to provide evidence of your circumstances in the form of a Supporting Statement, you can find our template here.

Our team can advise you on how to gather evidence and assist you to make an application to Student Finance England to be recognised as an estranged student and be assessed for funding.

We can also help you to apply for the university’s Financial Assistance Fund if you are experiencing severe financial difficulty. 

The Opportunities fund could help you access extracurricular professional development opportunities offered by the University or external organisations.

On Course Opportunities

"The Plus Programme helped me to meet other people in similar situations to me. It enabled me to experience new situations that I would not have had the opportunity to do without the Plus Programme's support. I also found having a single point of contact, someone who has shared experience of what we're going through or have been through, helpful.- Kevin

As an estranged students you are eligible for the Plus Programme which includes:

  • Study skills workshops
  • Personal skills workshops, such as budgeting, confidence building, wellbeing
  • Employability workshops and notifications of opportunities for internships, jobs and volunteering
  • Mentoring schemes
  • Social events

Guidance appointments with our contact for estranged students, Lisa, booked by emailing her at

Help with accessing University services including: Careers, LUU, Skills@Library, Counselling, and your personal tutors if needed – so you don’t have to keep repeating your situation.


For eligible estranged students the University can offer:

  • a guaranteed place in University-owned accommodation 
  • the offer of 365-day accommodation 
  • a waiver of the upfront security deposit for University-owned accommodation (meaning that you will only pay the deposit when you receive your student loan payment)

Contact Lisa Firth to find out if you are eligible by emailing

Mental Health and Wellbeing

"From the start of the year the Plus Programme was extremely helpful with making new friends in a supportive environment by holding fun social events during, and after, Fresher's Week. This support continued throughout the year through the weekly newsletter, where job opportunities and social events were easy and fee to access in one email. Having that extra help as an estranged student meant I felt a sense of belonging despite my circumstances and I now feel confident in seeking further support throughout the rest of my time at university; from students and staff alike.- Annabel

Interested in connecting with other estranged students? LUU are facilitating the development of a student-led support network. To find out more contact Katie:

Staying in Leeds during the vacation? There are still student events and activities you can get involved in

Don’t forget the resources offered by the Wellbeing and Counselling Service including:

Groups and workshops to enhance your wellbeing and develop skills and self-awareness

Togetherall – a supportive online community offering 24/7 online peer and professional support

Meditation and Relaxation Downloads

Headstart cards offering advice on a range of common issues:

Graduation and Beyond

Access to career guidance to help you make plans early for after your course ends.

Funding towards the cost of gown hire and a graduation photograph.

Contact Lisa for assistance in accessing any of the support above and determining your eligibility by emailing 


Helpful Information:

StandAlone Student Support Portal

StandAlone Student Finance Guide

UCAS pages on ‘Support for Estranged Students in Higher Education’