Estranged Students

If you consider yourself to be estranged from your family then you may be entitled to extra support and funding from the university, government and external agencies. 

Estranged Students

An estranged person is someone who no longer has contact with their parents or legal guardians, due to a permanent breakdown in their relationship (isolated instances of contact will be considered on a case by case basis)

Estranged students are young people studying without the support and approval of a family network. Young people in this position often have no contact at all with their family and have removed themselves from a dysfunctional situation.  

Logo: Stand Alone Legacy Pledge - We're supporting estranged students (March 2024)

Getting In

We wanted to reassure you that getting a place at university may not be as daunting as you might think. QMU provides additional support to applicants who are estranged. This includes minimum entry requirements and a guaranteed offer* to the course you have applied for.

To make this process easy for you when you are applying for a place at QMU, you will be asked to tick a box to indicate that you are estranged on your UCAS form. This information is held confidentially but will allow you to access the resources available to you within the university. Such as pre-entry guidance, financial support and information about the QMCares community.

*We will try, wherever possible, to guarantee you a place on the specific course you have applied to, but this will not be possible in every circumstance.

It might not be possible to offer you a place on your chosen course if, for example:

  • It is a course with lots of applicants and not many places; or
  • Places are strictly limited by the Scottish Government (e.g. Education Studies (Primary), Nursing, Paramedic Science).

In some subject areas minimum entry requirements also include successful performance at interview or audition, or a successful portfolio assessment.

Where entry to a course is determined largely by interview, audition, portfolio assessment or similar, we will guarantee your progression to that stage of the application process.

Your performance at this stage will determine whether you are offered a place.

Student Finance

If you consider yourself estranged from your parents/legal guardians, their income is not considered when working out how much student funding you can receive.

If you’re estranged from your parents/legal guardians, you’ll receive support as an independent student. 

This usually means that you’ll be entitled to the maximum £1000 Independent Student Bursary (ISB) and a £7,100 student loan for living costs. 

Further information is available on the SAAS website.

QMU Discretionary Fund  

If you are finding it difficult to meet your living costs then you may be able to access some money to help you in the short term. The University manages a government-provided Discretionary Fund, introduced to help students whose initial or continuing access to education may be placed in jeopardy due to financial difficulties.  

You can find out more about financial assistance at QMU here.  


Estranged students, regardless of programme or year of study, will be given priority for a place in campus accommodation. As an estranged student, you may also be eligible to access 365-day accommodation, with no requirement for a guarantor.

Online applications open in April each year. You should apply for accommodation whether you have a firm conditional or unconditional course offer.

Accommodation on campus is very limited, therefore we recommend you apply as early as possible to avoid disappointment. You will find out more information in our Accommodation Allocations Procedure.

External Accommodation Support

If you’re living away from home for the first time, in university owned accommodation or renting a property from a private landlord or letting agent. Shelter, have compiled a guide that explains your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, as well as those of your landlord

Their advice helpline can help with any emergencies and urgent housing-advice matters on 0808 800 4444. Or, if your enquiry is not urgent, please consider using their online housing advice form.

The National Union for Students (NUS) has also produced a useful Student Renters Rights Hub.

Wall of Wonder & FAQs

Have you ever wondered:                             

If you are eligible for financial support? 

  • You can find out more about financial support from SAAS if you are a Scottish home student.
  • You can find out more about financial support from The Student Loans Company if you are a non Scottish UK home student.

If there are other people out there like you?

  • Check out Chloe's Story in her article Experiencing university as an estranged student
  • This video from BBC Stories explores what it’s like to study without support from your parents.

Other External Support

Stand Alone

Stand Alone offers support services to prevent estranged adults becoming vulnerable. We talk openly about the experience of family estrangement to help others lead lives that are less isolated.

The EaCES Handbook

This site was created by current Estranged and Care Experienced Students (EaCES) in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, to summarise all of the advice and information they know about to support students in higher and further education and to share our own lived experiences and stories.

Within the EaCES Handbook you can find support and advice on:

  • Applying to Uni & Pre-Entry Support
  • Practical Support
  • Financial Support, Finances and Employment
  • Your Relationships
  • Taking Care of Yourself
  • Community and Activism

Further reading

The Scottish Government commissioned research on estranged student support

Who is here to support you at university?

QMCares is a dedicated part of our student services team who can support you during your time at QMU.

We have a dedicated staff member – Gayle Green available for group drop in sessions and individual appointments. Someone to talk things over with and provide informal advice and guidance as well as signposting to other relevant services.

Every student is also assigned a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) who will help guide you through your studies. Your PAT will normally be your main source of advice and guidance relating to your academic studies. 

Estranged Students Enquiries

Please contact Gayle Green, Widening Participation Officer (Support Coordinator), if you would like to find out more about how we can support you at QMU.

Show Contacts

Estranged Students Enquiries

Gayle Green 0131 474 0000