Estranged students

We understand that not everybody has a supportive home environment. If you are studying alone, we can help you.

Here at UCL, we recognise that as an estranged student, studying at university can be particularly challenging without the support and approval of a family network.

The guidance below explains some of the specific help available to you if you are an estranged student at UCL.

On this page: 


The term ‘estranged student’ describes someone who has no relationship with, or support from, either of their parents. The situation is permanent and there has been no contact with either parent for at least a year.

To help us identify you as an estranged student, we rely on the estranged student status classified on your undergraduate Student Finance application. We ask for estranged students to make direct contact with us regardless. This is so we can get in touch with you early on and can inform you of all the support UCL offers. We can also ensure that everything is in place before you start at UCL.

Information of a student’s estrangement will be kept confidential and will have no effect on your application to UCL.

Access UCL (contextual offers)

Estranged students may be eligible for Access UCL, the university's contextual offer scheme. This means this if you are estranged and made an offer by UCL, you may receive an offer that is lower than the standard entry requirements for the programme. 

For Access UCL eligibility purposes, we define an applicant estranged from their family as someone who has had no relationship with, or support from, their family for at least a year. If you are estranged, please make sure you tick the 'estranged student' box on your UCAS form so that our Admissions team can follow up with you. 

Student Finance

If Student Finance categorise you as an 'independent student', they will not take your parents' income into account when calculating your maintenance loan amount. 

To prove your estranged status to Student Finance, you will need to provide confirmation of your circumstances from a professional person outside your family. This can include a statement from:

  • Your social worker
  • Your Jobcentre Plus office explaining your benefits
  • An advice worker
  • Your personal tutor
  • Your teacher
  • Your doctor

Financial support from UCL

The sources of support listed here, other than the Financial Assistance Fund, are for undergraduate students only.

UCL undergraduate bursary

UK undergraduate students who are assessed as care experienced students by Student Finance (see above) will be automatically assessed as being eligible for the maximum UCL Undergraduate Bursary

Estranged student bursary

UK undergraduate students who are assessed as estranged students by Student Finance (see above) are eligible for the UCL Estranged Student Bursary of £1,000 for each year of study.

Financial assistance fund

Students in financial need may be able to access the Financial Assistance Fund. This is discretionary assistance for current UCL students who find themselves in unexpected financial difficulty.

Access Opportunity Scholarship

The Access Opportunity Scholarship is available to students who, due to their immigration status, are unable to access student loans via Student Finance.


UCL will provide 365-day accommodation for estranged students in their first year and, if needed, 365-day accommodation for subsequent years of study.

If you need 365-day accommodation and/or accommodation beyond your first year at UCL, please contact the UCL Accommodation team. You can do so via askUCL or by email.

Rent Guarantor Scheme

If you are looking to rent privately, but struggling to find someone to act as a rent guarantor, the Rent Guarantor Scheme run by the Accommodation team may be able to support you.

Unite Foundation Scholarship

The Unite Foundation Scholarship provides care experienced and estranged students with free accommodation for up to three years of study.

Personal support

UCL Student Success has a dedicated team who act as the key contact for undergraduate care experienced and estranged students.

The team is happy to be contacted by email from offer holder stage onwards if you have any questions about life at UCL. They also run regular meetups for care experienced and estranged students on campus.

Personal tutors

When you arrive at UCL, your department will assign you to a Personal Tutor. Their main role is to advise you on academic matters, but you can also discuss non-academic matters with them in confidence. 

Student Support and Wellbeing

Based in your department, Student Advisers are available to support you in your first year (and second year - please check their webpage) as you transition to university life.

If you would like support with your mental health, please book an appointment with the Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing team via askUCL.

Family Action Mentoring

The mentoring programme Family Action: Friendship Works is available to all UCL undergraduate UK care experienced students. For more information, please email the Student Success Office.

Transition Mentor Programme

All first year undergraduate students are assigned a second or third year mentor from their department as part of the Transition Mentor Programme. They can assist you with social, academic and personal issues relating to university life.

Careers Extra

Estranged students are eligible to join Careers Extra, which is a programme of enhanced careers support for undergraduates from underrepresented groups.