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Estranged Students

Are you studying without the support of your family?
We understand that studying without a family can be a difficult and stressful experience. At MMU we are committed to supporting students, and through our Linking Opportunities to University Support (LOTUS) project we aim to develop support for groups of students such as estranged students. We have a range of different ways to support you should you need it whilst studying with us.

What does estranged mean?
If you are estranged from your parents, it means that you are permanently out of contact with them. You aren’t normally considered estranged if you are in touch with one or both of your parents, even if you don’t live with them. If you are unsure if this applies to you contact us to discuss this further.

As an estranged student, you should be assessed as an independent adult by Student Finance England, you apply for your funding online at If you are an independent adult then the funding you get is based on your income alone. When applying you should tick the box that says you are ‘irreconcilably’ estranged from your family at the section about dependent or independent students. You will need to provide evidence of this to be classed an independent student.

We are working with StandAlone, a charity offering innovative advice and support services for all people experiencing estrangement. You will find a range of helpful information on their website including a guide to help you with your application for student funding, and a list of what evidence is required.

What support can I get?
For advice on the financial support available, assistance with your application to Student Finance England (SFE), and signposting to other services please email our estranged student contact Andrea Grimshaw at Proving your estrangement status can be very long and complex and each person's circumstances will be different but we can try and help you through this process. For further information please see the StandAlone guide, contact Andrea, or you can visit your Advice the Students’ Union.

Additional financial support may be available via the University’s discretionary hardship fund called the Access to Learning Fund. Students can apply to this fund if you are having money troubles or are experiencing a crisis, estranged students are a priority group for assistance from this scheme.

Support with Academic Studies
We have Student Support Officers based in each Faculty who are available for you to talk to in the first instance if you have any queries or problems. You can approach them for individual help with anything to do with your course. If they are unable to help you directly they will know someone who can. You can find the name and contact details of your Faculty Student Support Officer here


Peer Support
If you would like to talk to another student who understands, who can give advice on University experiences and dealing with being estranged whilst studying, then you can join our LOTUS Peer Support Scheme. For more information on getting a mentor, or becoming a mentor, please contact Ivan Hay on


Part-time work opportunities
The University’s Jobs4Students offers paid, temporary on-campus job opportunities throughout the University through in roles such as Student Ambassadors, IT Rovers and Peer Mentors.

Paid work is also available within the Widening Participation Team, whose work includes working with young people and raising their aspirations to aspire towards Higher Education. The work offered is casual, fits around your studies and has no set hours per week, please email for further details.


Careers and Employability
The Careers and Employability Service provide information, advice and events to help you find work alongside your studies. They are based in the Employability Hub in the Business School Building. Through their service you can:

  • Search and apply for 100s of part-time jobs online through My Career Hub
  • Attend employability workshops on anything from writing winning CVs and applications to being successful at interview
  • Meet employers on-campus and find out about the opportunities available at careers fairs and networking events throughout the year
  • Access online resources to support you with your job search

Support for your health and wellbeing.
Whilst studying at University it is important that you look after yourself and remain healthy. Students are advised to register with a local doctor when they arrive at MMU. You can search for doctors in your area by using the NHS directory. If you have a disability, you may be entitled to a Disabled Students Allowance to help support you through your studies. Further information can be found on our Disability Service website.

Studying without a family can be a difficult and stressful experience. Balancing work, study and finances can be daunting and having nobody to talk to can leave you feeling isolated.

The MMU Counselling, Health and Wellbeing service can offer support. They have a professionally qualified team of counsellors and a mental health advisor available for students to contact. The service offers a range of workshops and courses that can help you make the most of your studies, you can view the available programmes here.

The Students’ Union’s Advice Centre can help with a wide range of issues. The service is free, confidential and independent, with a team of experienced staff who can advise you on a range of issues including:

  • Student funding (including applying as an estranged or independent student)
  • budgeting
  • housing
  • academic issues (appeals, complaints, representation at disciplinary hearings)
  • welfare benefits
  • consumer issues
  • money problems and debt
  • council tax and much more
You can contact them by email at or by telephoning 0161 247 6533.