Estranged students


Estranged students are students who study without any family contact, approval or support.


Research for the Stand Alone Pledge indicates that abuse, and particularly emotional abuse, is a key cause of family estrangement, alongside clashes of values and beliefs and mismatched expectations about family roles. More specifically, issues connected to honour based violence, forced marriage and family rejection of LGBTQI+ and transgender students are common. There are also a proportion of estranged students who have been disowned for pursuing education against the wishes of their family or extended family network.


Student Advice


Student Advice is a free, confidential and independent service available for students of Cardiff University. We are independent of the University and our role is to give you impartial advice and guidance and help you understand the options available to you.

If your circumstances are impacting your wellbeing and/or ability to study and perform at your usual level, we can

  • advise you on how to report Extenuating Circumstances to the University;
  • advise you on how to submit and Academic Appeal if you have missed the Extenuating Circumstances deadline, or you circumstances have been refused;
  • advise you on how to take an Interruption of Study and what you need to think about when deciding what to do;
  • signpost you to other support services.


University Support


Cardiff University are committed to supporting estranged students. The University encourage you to make yourself known to the Advice and Money team, who can support you with applying for funding. Once you have made your circumstances known to the team, you will be allocated a dedicated member of staff who can help with:

  • Support you with student funding issues, including making an application and liaising with your funding body if there are any problems.
  • Assist you in managing your money while at university.
  • Support you with academic related issues including liaising with your academic department or assist you to apply for extenuating circumstances.
  • Assist with any housing issues such as finding accommodation, problems with landlords etc.
  • Sign-post towards other university services such as Disability and Dyslexia Service, Counselling and Wellbeing or Study Skills.
  • You can also contact them if you simply just someone to talk to.


Student Funding and Advice Team


Press option 5 when calling.


Student Finance


One major difficulty faced by estranged students is being able to prove their independent status to their funding body in order to be assessed as an independent student and receive maximum funding.

For Student Finance to consider a student independent because of estrangement, you must prove that you have had no verbal or written contact with both of your biological or adoptive parents or your only living parent for a significant period of time and the estrangement is unlikely to change. A significant period is considered 12 months or longer, but it will depend on each case.

To establish a case for estrangement, Student Finance will need a supporting statement from an independent person with good sounding in the community such as a doctor, a solicitor, a teacher or a police officer confirming the situation.

You need to provide evidence of your estranged status every year that you apply for student finance.

You can find further advice and information about evidencing estrangement on the Stand Alone website.

If you needed any help with liaising with Student Finance, please contact the Student Funding and Advice Team.


Additional University financial support


Estranged students are eligible to a bursary from the university of £3,000 across the duration of the students’ course. More information regarding the estranged student bursary can be found here. This bursary is in addition to the Cardiff University Bursary.

Cardiff University can also give advice on emergency money including access to the Financial Assistance Programme, if you experience financial hardship whilst studying.


University Guarantor Scheme


If you are trying to secure private accommodation whilst studying in Cardiff but you do not have a guarantor, you may be eligible for the Cardiff University Guarantor Scheme. Further information is available on our Guarantors page.


Tailored work experience


GO Wales provides support for eligible students to secure work experience opportunities. As an estranged student, you may be eligible and we would encourage you to contact them. They can help you secure work shadowing, work tasters and a paid work placement.


External support

Stand Alone is an organisation which supports estranged people of all ages. They provide advice on issues such as finance and run support groups and a range of therapeutic workshops.

Cardiff University have signed up to the Stand Alone HE Pledge to publicly declare that they are committed to supporting estranged students. 

Contact Student Advice
+44 (0)2920 781410