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Information for estranged students

At King’s College London we recognise that having no communicative relationship with either of their biological parents can have a significant impact on educational opportunities and outcomes. Therefore we provide pre-entry and on-course support to students who have lost family contact and are no longer supported by their families.

View our guide for Estranged Students

Disclosing estrangement can provide context when making admissions decisions but also ensures we provide the right financial, academic and personal support.  We don’t need to know why a student has been estranged or any other detail and we do understand that some students see university as a new start and may be reluctant to let the university know. We would like to reassure students that this information will never be used against them but we can’t help if we don’t know.  To disclose their independent status students should do the following if relevant:

  • Say they are estranged from their family on their personal statement
  • Ensure the teacher reference gives additional information and provides context
  • If needed fill in the Mitigating Circumstances form  
  • Contact Jack Mollart-Solity at jack.mollart-solity@kcl.ac.uk (DMS at Widening Participation Department)

It is possible to claim independent status with Student Finance due to estrangement from parents, in case you have proof of the following:

  • No written or in verbal contact with biological parents in past 12 months before start of academic year
  • The situation is irreconcilable

 In this case, your personal household income will be taken into consideration for the means-tested elements, instead of your parents` income. To do this you will need to submit evidence to support the claim, from an independent person with good standing in the community. This person should normally have known about your situation for a substantial amount of time, and can verify that you don’t have contact with your biological, adoptive or only living parents (for example a letter from a social worker, advice worker, tutor, teacher). Please note that to get the available financial support, you need to agree to get means-tested. For more information related to proving independent status, visit: http://standalone.org.uk/guides/student-guide/

Support before applying to King`s

King's College London has a designated member of staff, Jack Mollart-Solity, who can assist estranged students with all aspects of the application process. You can talk about course choices, get feedback on a draft personal statement, recieve tips for interviews as well as guidance on King's other support services e.g. student funding or the disability service.

We are working together with Standalone, which offers support services for people of all ages that become estranged or disowned from their family. They run support groups, a range of workshops and a programme to connect people for ongoing emotional support. They also created useful advice guides for all people experiencing estrangement who can’t reach a group or workshop. 

There is more details on applying to university as an estranged student on the UCAS webpages.

Support whilst at King`s

Buddy programme

We organise a buddy scheme which matches incoming students with experienced undergraduates. The buddies are matched on course similarity and the scheme aims to support new students during their first term, signpost support and provide a friendly face in a new environment. More information about the scheme is available on the KCLSU site. 

Welcoming event

We are hosting a social welcoming event beginning of September where you will have the opportunity to meet different Support Services and people in similar situations to you. It will be very informal and will include dinner and the opportunity to meet your buddy for the first time

Academic support

All students are allocated a Personal Tutor from within their Department or School.  Estranged students also have access to a Senior Tutor who will act as a consistent tutor throughout their time at King's and give further support with academic work if required. 

Our Career Advisory team can help you with getting a part time job, internship and graduate opportunities, as well as gaining employability skills. 

Personal support

We have a designated advisor for estranged students currently at King's. Students can meet her as soon as they have a firm offer from King's, helping with any queries about the transition into higher education and any money or moving worries. 

As well as meeting before you start, the advisor supports students throughout their journey in Higher Education, helping with bursary and accommodation applications and working alongside support services e.g. student funding, study skills or counselling. 

Please contact anne-marie.henderson@kcl.ac.uk  to learn more. 

Additionally, the Wellbeing Team is here to work with students who want to focus on improving any aspect of their life through a coaching approach. They run both group and one-to-one sessions for students at all campuses. 

Financial and accommodation support

King’s offers a number of bursaries which estranged young people from the UK are eligible for:

The Care Leavers and Estranged Students Bursary, worth up to £1,000 per year, is available for students who are under 25 when enrolling and have experience of local authoirty care or are estranged.

The King’s Living Bursary scheme is open to every full-time home first degree student who has been means-tested with a final income assessment of £42,641. The bursary is worth up to £1,600 a year. 

King's Hardship Fund: this support is a limited discretionary fund to assist students on low incomes who may need extra financial support for their course and to stay in higher education. To check if you are eligible to apply, please visit our Hardship Fund page. 

KCL Accommodation: We appreciate that accommodation is often a concern for many students who have been in care and so we offer 52-week lets (all year round, including summer months) accommodation for all care leavers.  For more information on accommodation at King's College London visit the Student Residences homepage. We can provide year-round accommodation at Wolfson House but you need to let us know as soon as possible. For more information please visit the residences page . 

Care experienced and estranged students are also eligible for the King’s Affordable Accommodation Scheme (KAAS) in which accommodation is up to £155/ week. For more information on KAAS, visit this rents and affordability page.

UNITE Accommodation Bursary: The UNITE Accommodation & Access Bursary, which is available to students undertaking an undergraduate degree, offers the full cost of accommodation in a student residence for up to three years. Accommodation will be covered for a full 52 weeks each year. To check your eligibility, find out more information, and see how to apply, please visit our Unite Scholarship page.

 For all inquiries about financial support, contact either Jack Mollart-Solity or the Student Funding Department for more information. Emailjack.mollart-solity@kcl.ac.uk Telephone: 020 7843 2581 

Story of a KCL Estranged student

 "Applying to university was a hard decision because whether I studied or not depended highly on what kind of support my prospective university gave me. Anne-Marie contacted me after I had an offer and since then the whole process of moving in to halls and starting my course was really smooth. When I made my application, I was not sure whether I would be able to afford university education or not but the Widening Participation staff were very helpful and supported me.

They told me about the scholarships and finance options I had. I was guaranteed 52 weeks accommodation for the duration of my course, and this was a huge relief since I did not have to look for guarantor-based accommodation. Anne-Marie also guided me about student ambassador jobs which would further support me not only for my finances but also improve my confidence.

Something I would recommend is to let their tutors, widening participation or hall wardens know about your situation, and you will be able to get the best possible support from all sides. King’s has supported me in every way it possibly could have! All you need to do is ASK!!"

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