Support for students not supported by their parents (estranged)

Deciding to study at university is a big step for anyone; it can be especially daunting if you don’t have the support of your family. For those students, who are estranged, have lost contact or are disowned by their families, we believe that you deserve extra support to help you make the right choices, to get financial help and assistance and be able to settle in quickly, so that you can focus on your studies and enjoy your student experience. At the University of Birmingham we offer the highest academic experience within a supportive environment.

Pre entry support

We can offer you guidance from your first interest in applying for university right through to studying here. Julia Kingston is our dedicated contact within the Outreach team (tel. +44 (0)121 414 8729). Please get in touch if you have any questions. All our support is optional and you can decide how much support you need at any stage. 

Finance

As an independent student, estranged from your family we can understand that one of the biggest concerns will be the costs of coming to and living at university. The charity Stand Alone has created detailed information to help you make the decision. 

UCAS have also developed a helpful guide 

There are also a number of charities and foundations who will offer support to young people in full time education. Use the Turn2us website to search for different organisations that might be able to help 

Helena Kennedy Foundation can offer awards to students in full time FE or HE education experiencing financial hardship

Buttle UK can support with small grants

As an estranged student you could also qualify for our university care leaver packages if you can provide the correct supporting evidence. Our funding team are happy to talk you through applying for student finance as an estranged student and the supporting evidence you need. The university has other bursaries available to enable students to undertake internships, work experience or overseas placements and care leavers/estranged students are prioritised for all funding sources. You can find more information on our Undergraduate funding database.

Accommodation

We will ensure that you have access to accommodation for 52 weeks a year for the duration of your course. A priority Chamberlain Award to cover the costs of University-owned accommodation is available for estranged students as well as for care leavers. Alternatively, there is a £3,000 bursary, if you choose not to live in student accommodation. The deadline for guaranteed accommodation and the priority Chamberlain Award is 31 May each year.

Our Student Mentor Scheme supports you with advice and guidance on any welfare-related issues you may face during your time in University accommodation. All our student mentors are fully trained and available to help you, from the moment you move in and throughout your time in University accommodation. The Student Mentor Scheme is based in the Mentor Welfare Officer, which is located in The Hub, at the Vale.  

Student support and wellbeing

The University has a wide range of support available for its students. Student Services provide and support in specialist areas such as Counselling and Wellbeing, Disability, Mental Health and Learning Support. 

The Student Wellbeing Officer (SWO) co-ordinates a proactive response for any student brought to the attention of Student Support Services who is in need of support but not currently engaging with any service. The SWO will work closely with the student, as well as support any staff member involved, to ensure the student is referred to the most appropriate service(s) from within Student Services and/or local statutory services. The SWO is the point of contact within Student Services for student carers, estranged students and care leavers. If requested the SWO can meet with a student to discuss support and facilitate access to appropriate services. 

To support your transition to this new way of learning, you will have access to a comprehensive support system that includes the Academic Skills Centre based in the main library, if you feel you need additional support with general academic skills, academic writing and mathematics. In addition to your departmental personal tutor we provide a confidential service to help you manage practical, emotional and psychological issues that may impact on your academic success. Also available is a multi-faith chaplaincy. We can offer an initial guidance session, at the start of your time here, for those that request it.

All undergraduates have access to our award winning Careers Network to support you to plan for a successful career on graduation; access national-award-winning internships and placements in the UK and overseas.