Independent Student Status

If you’re an independent student, we won’t take your parents’ income into account when working out how much student finance you can get.

If you’re married, in a civil partnership or over 25 and living with your partner, we’ll ask your partner for their National Insurance number and personal income details.

You’ll be classed as independent if:

  • you care for a person under the age of 18 on the first day of the academic year you’re applying for student finance
  • you’re 25 or over on the first day of the academic year you’re applying for student finance
  • you’ve been married or in a civil partnership before the start of the academic year (even if you’re now divorced or separated)
  • you have no living parents
  • you’ve supported yourself for at least 3 years before the start of your course
  • your parents can’t be traced or it’s not practical or possible to contact them
  • your parents live outside the EU and an income assessment would put them in jeopardy, or it’s not reasonably practical for them to send funds to the UK to help support you
  • you’ve not communicated with your parents for 1 year before the start of the academic year that you’re applying for student finance, or you can demonstrate you’re permanently estranged from your parents
  • you’ve been in care for any 3 month period ending on or after the date you turned 16 and before the first day of the first academic year of your course



Depending on your circumstances, you might need to send us:

  • your marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • photocopies of your P60s or a letter from your employer(s)
  • a letter from your local Jobcentre Plus office
  • a letter from your local council or care authority
  • your child’s birth certificate



You might be able to apply as an estranged student if you’ve had no contact with both your parents for over a year. This means you will have had no written or verbal contact with either parent and this is unlikely to change. However, if you’ve had contact with either parent in the last 12 months, we’ll still consider your application.

You cannot apply as estranged just because:

  • your parents don’t financially support you
  • you don’t get on with your parents
  • you don’t live with your parents

Evidence of estrangement

If you apply as an estranged student you will need to give us some evidence. The easiest way to do this is to fill in the Confirmation of Estrangement Form. You can get this form on your online account once you’ve submitted your application.

Otherwise, you can send us a:

  • letter from your social worker
  • letter from a doctor that knows your situation
  • police report showing any related incidents
  • letter from a teacher that knows your situation
  • letter from a ‘person of good standing in the community’ (for example a solicitor, religious leader or a counsellor)

You don’t have to disclose the full details of your estrangement, however this could speed up your application.

The charity StandAlone has more information about applying for student finance as an estranged student.