If you’re an estranged student, the Advice team are here to help your university experience. Whether you’re after advice, information on what support is available to you or just need some to talk to, we are for you. The Guild are committed to helping you achieve your fullest potential and to ensure you’re supported during your time at Exeter.

We stand with the University of Exeter’s Stand Alone Pledge which aims to provide support for estranged students in the following areas: financial, accommodation, wellbeing, peer mentoring, careers and employability. For more information, visit Stand Alone pledge


Do I qualify as estranged?

To be considered irreconcilably estranged from your parents, you won’t have had any written or verbal contact with either parent and this is unlikely to change. It would usually last for a period of at least twelve months, but all cases would be considered.

I’m not fully estranged but I have a difficult family relationship

Becoming estranged is a big step and can be really conflicting and upsetting. We would still like you to get in touch and can provide you some information and things to think about. Each situation is unique, and we will always try and help if we can.

I have suddenly become estranged can you help

Unfortunately, relationships can suddenly turn especially if parents are unwilling/unable to support with a change that they do not agree with. We have seen this particularly in matters of religion, sexuality, gender even study choices. Do get in contact with us and we can often help in these situations and will look at what you need to be recognised as estranged.

I’m not estranged but I am keen to help support other students, what can I do?

Join us in supporting students during Estranged students Solidarity week Estranged students solidarity week. We will be putting on a range of talks and events to raise awareness for estranged students.

Financial support

Student Maintenance loan

We recognise that being estranged from your parents will likely mean that you will have less money and finances could be a struggle. When applying for your Student Finance loan, you can ask to be assessed as an independent student and be assessed on your own household income. This means that you can get the maximum amount of student loan possible. This can also makes things easier if you do not have contact with your parents but you have to get them to provide their financial information for your loan. If they won’t do this or you don’t want to ask them, you will only get the minimum, means tested amount of student maintenance loan. student finance for undergraduates 

We can offer advice about applying as an independent student and provide guidance through this process.

Financial bursaries

The Access to Exeter Bursary - If you are a full-time undergraduate student with home fee status, and your household income is below £25,000, then you will be eligible to receive the Access to Exeter bursary as long as you have applied for means tested student finance and selected that you are happy for details of your application to be shared with the University.

This bursary is processed automatically and details of the level of bursary, payment dates and more can be found on the University’s webpages here.

If you are assessed as an independent student you will likely have the maximum student loan and will automatically be eligible for the bursary.

The Estranged Student Bursary. When you are navigating life without parental support, different challenges will arise and this bursary allows us to help students based on individual need. This amount is not fixed and will be dependent on your situation which you can work with Claire our Widening participation worker to think about what would help support your continued study at Exeter. Examples include specific counselling, food parcels, and travel related costs.

For more information about the financial support available to you and for guidance for applying, please contact us at 

Hardship fund

The University has the Success for all fund that all students can apply to for financial help. This could be for living costs, specific needs, diagnostic assessment or IT equipment. We can support you to apply for this fund and talk through eligibility criteria.


We understand that estranged students can face a greater disadvantage while searching for year-long accommodation. The University of Exeter can provide access to accommodation all year round, including the holiday periods, to remove the obstacle of having to find temporary vacation accommodation.

You can visit our housing advice page here to get more information about searching for accomodation, finding flatmates, managing paperwork, moving in, and much more.

Other support

Peer Mentoring

The Peer Mentoring Programme is an opportunity for you to connect with a student from higher years who has been in the same position as you. They will give you support and guidance during your studies to help you succeed. Find out more here Peer support

What additional support is available to me?

Looking after your wellbeing is a fundamental part of supporting you during your time at Exeter. The University’s Wellbeing team offers a range of services to support you both personally and academically.

For more information about support available see the Wellbeing website or email

I still have more questions, where can I get more support?

If you still have any more concerns, please get in touch with our Advice team at or go to our Drop in pages for drop-in session times.

Accessibility Tools

University of Exeter Students' Guild is a Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered Charity Number: 1136468 Company Number: 07217324; registered in England and Wales Registered office: Devonshire House, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4PZ