Estranged Students (studying without family support)

The term ‘estranged student’ describes someone who has no communication with either of their biological or adoptive parents, and the situation is likely to remain permanent.

Coming to University is exciting but can also be overwhelming.  If you don’t have the support of your family, this can be even harder.  We think it’s fantastic that you have chosen to do a degree at York, but we recognise that you may need some additional support while you are here.

To help us identify you as an estranged student we rely on the independent student status classified on your student finance application, but we would like estranged students to still contact us directly. Particularly if you haven't been classified as estranged by student finance. This is so we can get in touch with you early on and inform you of all the support the University of York can offer. Information of a student’s estrangement will be kept confidential and will have no effect on your UCAS application to the University. Please let us know you are estranged by contacting our estranged students' contact, Joanna Paluch-Edwards, at 


Things to know before you arrive

Application support

You can contact us for support as early as you would like, even before you apply to York. We can talk you through the different course types and offer advice on which course might be right for you as well as guidance on writing your personal statement.

The University of York Access Scheme aims to improve access to the University for applicants who have faced challenging circumstances. Through the Access Scheme you can provide additional information which will be considered alongside your UCAS application.

Flexible accommodation contracts


Our accommodation guarantee

If you have accepted either a firm or insurance place at York and apply for University accommodation by 31 July we guarantee you an offer of a room owned, managed or approved by the University. You'll have access to 365 day accommodation should you need it.

Picking a let length

Our 40 and 44-week lets cover both the Easter and Christmas vacation while our 50-week lets cover summer too. Even If you want to live in York over the summer you can still include shorter let lengths in your preferences. You can apply to live on campus for the summer nearer the time.

Many students will move into private sector accommodation for their second year. As you won't know what your plans are yet, we'd advise you to select a 40 or 44-week let length to keep your options open. We suggest you don't choose a 38-week let length as this would mean moving your belongings out of your room during Easter.

We understand you may require additional information to help make your accommodation choices and are happy to discuss individual requirements.

Visit our accommodation webpage for further information. 


Starting University

Support with transition to university

Starting university is a daunting time for most students. Our estranged students' contact will be in touch with you regularly during the few weeks before you start at York and continuing through your first term here. They can support you with the logistics of organising your move to York and ensuring you have everything you need in your accommodation.

Student Buddying Scheme

We will sign you up for a buddy when you have accepted your place.  A Student Buddy is a second or third year student who will help you settle into university life and support you through your first year here. They can help with any questions you may have, even before you have started with us.  More details about our buddies can be found here.

Support while you're studying at York

Support renting private sector accommodation

After your first year at York you may decide to rent shared private sector accommodation that requires a UK based rent guarantor. If you don’t have a UK based guarantor, the University will either act as your guarantor through the Rent Guarantee Scheme, or will cover the administration fee charged by a private rent guarantor service (e.g Housing Hand), in order to enable you to rent in the private sector.

Study skills support

The academic support office can help you develop a number of key study skills to improve your academic experience, including skills in academic reading and writing, IT and maths and delivering a presentation.

Advice and employment support

As an estranged student you will be guaranteed an interview for the role of Student Ambassador, as long as you complete the application form to the best of your abilities. The Student Ambassador role is a flexible, paid, part-time position where you will be an ambassador for the University and a role model for prospective students. In addition to this role being a great opportunity to earn some money, it will also help you develop skills in communication, team work, social and cultural awareness and problem solving.


The University of York has a fantastic support network through its college system.  You will be automatically affiliated to a college when you start and there is a wide team to help deal with any questions and to help you settle in. For more information look here.

Students’ Union

There are a wide range of societies you can join so that you can meet new friends.  YUSU has details of all the societies on their website here as well as details of other events and activities you can get involved with.

Pastoral support

In addition to the support you will receive from the estranged students’ contact, there are plenty of people you can approach for advice or a chat when you are at York, including your college team, your academic supervisor, YUSU, Open Door and Disability and colleagues in the Student Hub.

Please note, we can also offer some support to estranged students studying at York who are from outside the UK. Please get in touch with our estranged students’ contact for more information.

Financial Support

Before starting university, we recommend that you prepare a budget so you know how much income you will have for the year and your anticipated expenditures so you can plan for any shortfalls through part-time work or other sources of funding. Once you arrive, this is something that we can help you with in the Student Hub if you are finding it difficult to budget.

What financial help does the university offer?


York Bursary

Depending on your household income you could be eligible for our non-repayable York bursary. We will automatically assess your eligibility using the information supplied in your application for Student Loans.

York Opportunity Awards

The York Opportunity Awards have been established to provide support to talented students who have the academic potential to study at York and who have faced significant barriers to their educational goals. Applications for 2019 entry will open in March 2019.

BA English Access Bursary

The BA English Access Bursary of £1,000 will be awarded to a newly-enrolled Home/EU undergraduate student for English Literature (Q300) in 2019/20 from one of the following under-represented groups:

  • Mature students with dependents
  • Students estranged from their families
  • Students from low-income military or traveller families

Hardship funds

If you find yourself in unexpected financial difficulty while you are studying, we offer hardship and emergency funding.

Travel awards

We have a number of financial awards for students wishing to pursue organised and independent international travel projects during their studies at York. When you come to York you'll be given information and invited to events where you can find out about funding and the international experiences that are on offer.

Further sources of information on funding, bursaries and grants can be found here:


Dedicated contact

You'll have access to a single point of contact both before you get here and during your studies at York.

Our estranged students' contact can:

  • Help with any questions you may have about our courses and what it's like to study at York
  • Facilitate a visit to the University for you (including covering any transport costs)
  • Offer emotional and practical support throughout your studies and direct you to other appropriate University services.


“Starting university can be a daunting time. I will be in touch with you regularly during the few weeks before you start at York and continuing through your time here. If you are struggling with the logistics of organising your move to York and would like some assistance please get in touch and I can help.

If you would like to visit and aren’t able to attend an Open Day, I can arrange a tailored one-to-one tour and cover travel costs. Additionally, I can give you guidance on applying to Student Finance as an independent student, including helping you with evidence if you need it to reapply in subsequent years. If you have any questions, please get in touch using the details below.  I look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to the University of York - it’s a fantastic place to study!”


My contact details:


Joanna Paluch-Edwards

+44 (0)1904 324140