What help is there for estranged students?

We understand that not every student who comes to university has their parents to support them. LUU works together with the University to provide support and guidance for estranged students during their time at university.

Everyone’s circumstances will be different, and you might not think of yourself as ‘estranged’ but if you are studying at Leeds Uni without parental support there are a number of practical things we can do to help you with university life, from Student Finance to accommodation, we’ve got your back. 

Student Finance

As an estranged student you won’t always have information about your household income so when applying for Student Finance you can apply as an independent student.

To be able to apply as an independent student your situation must be one or more of the following:

  • You are irreconcilably estranged from your biological or adoptive parents or parent and have not had written or verbal contact with them for a significant period of time.
  • You have supported yourself for a total of 36 months prior to the start of your course. The months do not have to be consecutive but they must indicate that you have been earning enough to be financially independent.
  • You have been in local authority care for at least three months after your sixteenth birthday.
  • You do not know the location of your parents or if they are in a country considered dangerous for you to contact them.
  • You are 25 years old on the first day of the academic year, or are in a married in civil partnership, have been in a marriage or civil partnership previously but are now separated, you have a child dependent.
  • If both of your biological or adoptive parents are deceased.

If you are unsure about your circumstances or they are not listed above please get in contact with LUU Advice.

You will also need to provide Student Finance with some evidence that you are an estranged student. If you have not been in contact with your parents, you will need to provide a letter or statement from an independent person who can confirm this. 

This person will have known about your situation for a substantial period of time but it cannot be a relative or family friend. This letter can come from for example: a social worker, doctor, member of staff at your school or college or a housing support worker.

If you are unsure of who to ask for this letter or are unsure if your supporting document will suffice for your application please contact LUU Advice.

Find more information about completing your Student Finance application here.

The University

The University of Leeds is committed to the Stand Alone Pledge, which works to support estranged students throughout their time at University, with things like accommodation help and course support.

The University has its own dedicated team within the Educational Engagement Service who are working to support estranged students. As an estranged student, you can contact this team and get tailored support with all kinds of things. You can get in touch with Lisa Firth for an informal chat on email here or phone on 0113 343 7669.

More information about what services the University can provide can be found here.


There are a number of funding opportunities available for students with independent status:

  • Leeds Financial Support
  • Scholarships
  • Access to Learning Fund
  • Find more information here
  • If you are unsure of what funding you may be entitled to please contact LUU Advice. 


Looking for accommodation as an estranged student can be a daunting task, especially with finding a guarantor. But don’t worry, the University has a plan in place to ensure all our students can get somewhere to live, without the headache.

As an estranged student you are:

  • Guaranteed a place in University-owned accommodation
  • Receive an offer of yearlong accommodation, so you don’t have to move out during vacations
  • Get a waiver on the upfront security deposit for University-owned accommodation. 

Mental Health and Wellbeing

The Counselling and Wellbeing Service have various support options available: from group workshops and self-guided courses to online forums. You can find these here and a link to the Counselling Service self-referral form here.

The International Activities Office organise out of term events for all those staying in Leeds over the holiday periods. Please click here for more information.

LUU Advice

Here at LUU Advice we can provide a non-judgemental listening ear for our students going through a difficult time. If you would like more information about what support is available for estranged students please contact us on advice@luu.leeds.ac.uk or phone on 0113 3801 290 or visit us in the Union building on campus. 

Useful information

The following links provide useful information and support for estranged students before and during University: