Information and resources for estranged students

13 March 2023

What is an ‘estranged’ student?

Generally, estrangement means the student has no contact with their parents (either biological or adoptive) and this is unlikely to change.

Common examples include students who are living:

· with friends

· in supported accommodation

· with other family members such as aunts, uncles or grandparents

In some cases, students may have very limited contact with their parents for specific reasons, for example, they’re still in touch with their siblings. These students may still be considered as estranged from their parents.

Each application for estrangement will be assessed on the student’s individual circumstances.

What does estrangement mean for a student finance application?

When students are considered estranged from their parents, they will not be asked to provide their parents’ financial information. Instead, these students will be assessed as independent. This means that once we’ve received evidence confirming their estrangement, we will award them the maximum amount of Maintenance Loan and Maintenance Grant available, if they want it.

Students will be asked for an update of their circumstances in each academic year.

Students should always apply for their student finance as soon as possible. This will help to make sure their tuition fees are paid, and they get some money to cover their living costs in time for the start of their course.

How do students provide evidence of estrangement status?

After they have submitted their student finance application, indicating they are estranged, we will send the student a form (SEF) to complete and another form (IVE) for a third party to complete.

Students should provide as much evidence as they can to support their application.

Students should send their evidence to their local Student Finance NI (SFNI) office.

What else do estranged students need to know?

The charity Stand Alone offers a wide range of support to people experiencing estrangement from family. This includes a student finance guide.

Students or professionals can find their local Student Finance NI (SFNI) office.

We’ve created a short guide to estrangement which you can pass to students.

Important information for estranged students

Last modified: 14 May 2024