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SFE, hardship grants etc Watch

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    Just want to hear SFE's opinion/view on this since I haven't had an official response.

    Let's take a scenario that someone's transitioning. At some point in their transition (eg when they come out/when they decide to physically transition), their parents cut financial support from them. This would in most cases be classified as a type of unavoidable hardship and supported by a hardship grant at most unis, which I understand (correct me if wrong) is done as a lengthy process looking at the information provided to SFE (along with bank statements).

    The person *could* apply for estrangement, but would need the documents to support this and a year of no contact. If someone were to start their studies and come out around Easter they would need to "wait" for another year. This is also assuming they are actually estranged - someone can maintain contact and a relationship without being financially supportive. The estrangement issue, if they even are estranged, is slightly problematic because the hardship grant is supposed to take you to a reasonable end of your studies (ie the end of 1st year).

    So with all of this in mind, I grant that there's nothing on SFE's end to be done in terms of financial support asides from the minimum maintenance loan (at least until someone can obtain estrangement status if that's applicable). How do unis react to this in practice - do they inadvertently force the student to "drop out" after 1st year? (I know that's not SFE's area particularly, but since SFE works with unis there might be previous instances to base info on etc)
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    Hi auburnstar,

    Firstly, worst case scenario if you were only able to get non means-tested funding until we accepted your evidence for estrangement then you would get your full Tuition Fee Loan (TFL) and Maintenance Loan (ML) so it would just be extra ML that you would get when we means-test your application later so the University would get their fees. The implications of less maintenance in terms of how you are able to support yourself if you have any accommodation costs would be something you would need to consider and discuss with your accommodation provider.

    We can look to assess you based on estrangement if you have had no contact with your parents for a significant amount of time which is usually considered to be four months or longer. Student Finance estranged assessors however take each case on its own merits and are allowed to make exceptions on the period of no contact where the circumstances are severe and clearly irreconcilable.

    We would look for you to provide a signed and dated letter from an independent person with good standing in the community, for example, a Doctor, Teacher or Social Worker, University finance/support advisor etc. You can also send any additional evidence you have to support this. The main evidence needs to confirm the following:-

    * The persons relationship to you and the length of time they have known you
    * The reasons for the estrangement from your parents and when this occurred
    * Current contact levels with both parents and if a reconciliation is likely

    The Independent team are currently taking 23 working days to review any evidence. You would just send it in with your CRN to our main correspondence address:-

    Student Finance England
    PO Box 210
    Darlington
    DL1 9HJ

    Thanks


    Laura
 
 
 
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