Support for estranged students

Support for estranged students

Are you studying without the support of your family?

Not everyone who comes to university has the support of their family. There are many reasons why people become separated from family; we understand that these reasons are personal to you. We also realise that coming to university as an independent student might bring additional challenges, financially, practically and emotionally. You may not wish to discuss your individual circumstances or access support but we would like you to know that we are here to offer advice and guidance should you wish to get in touch.

If you are a care leaver, please see our pages about support for care leavers at Sheffield Hallam.

What support can I get?

There is a range of support for estranged students at Sheffield Hallam including a named contact, regular newsletters, appointments and potential financial support depending on your circumstances.

You may also be eligible to apply for financial support.

Get help from our service


What does estranged mean?

There are many ways to talk about your situation if you’re estranged from family. You may say you’re ‘not on speaking terms’ with them, or you may feel you’ve been ‘disowned’, ‘fallen out’ or ‘lost contact’ with family members.

Assessments for student funding are normally made based on parental income. You may be considered as being ‘irreconcilably estranged from your parents’ if you have not had verbal or written contact with both of your biological, adoptive parents or your only living parent for a significant period of time and this will not change. For funding purposes, a significant period of time is usually considered twelve months or longer prior to the start of your course, but this can also depend on your circumstances. Please see our link to Financial Support for advice on how to show that you are estranged when applying for Student Finance.

Whatever your circumstances, we would like to reassure you that at Sheffield Hallam you don’t need to be on your own. If you would like to talk to someone about university life and how to access support should you wish, please contact our advisers at or contact Hallam Help.

If you’re feeling alone or isolated due to being estranged from your family please be reassured that you’re not on your own.  Around 27 per cent of people will be estranged from their family at some point in their life. There are lots of sources of support and information available. We recommend articles by the author Becca Bland, founder of Stand Alone, a charity supporting adults that are estranged from their family. See a range of articles by Becca Bland.

More information about available support

Your named contacts, Emily and Robin, are available for you to talk to if you are estranged from your family, no question is too big or too small. As named contacts, we can offer you the following support:

  • We are available to meet with you one-to-one or by phone/email to talk briefly about your situation, discuss any issues or concerns and identify sources of support as needed. 
  • We provide regular newsletters by email about relevant opportunities, events and support to help you make the most of your time as a student.
  • You can access to our Estranged Student Facebook page, where you can connect with other students who are estranged from their families at Sheffield Hallam. 
  •  We can help you access support with funding issues, financial hardship and money skills from our colleagues in Student Funding. We can help put you in touch with specialist services such as Careers and Employability/Student Wellbeing.

Support in my Faculty

You may choose to speak with someone more closely related to your course, in which case a good person to start with would be your Student Support Adviser. Every student has a Student Support Adviser assigned to them and they are there to help and guide you with any question or concern you might have that’s affecting your studies. You can find out who your Student Support Adviser is by contacting Hallam Help.

Student Wellbeing

There are many places you could turn if you feel like getting support with how you’re feeling. It is up to you who you decide to trust. Our Student Wellbeing service may be a good place to start.

Support Outside of University

Stand Alone is a UK organisation that offers support to anyone who has become estranged from their family. They also run several events and workshops throughout the year, including group sessions in Sheffield. These sessions offer emotional support and wellbeing development to anyone dealing with the impact and issues of estrangement.

The University has strong links with Standalone and we can refer you to for specialist support or for advocacy services.

Student Story