Estranged students

The University of Bristol is committed to supporting students who are studying without the support and approval of their parents due to a breakdown in their relationship . We want you to feel safe, supported, and able to reach your potential, and we have a comprehensive support package for students who are estranged.

If you’re considering university you can get in contact with Katie Arnold in the Widening Participation team who can offer support throughout the application process. We run events to help you find out more about university, and prioritise applications from estranged students in our widening participation projects.

Phone: 01174283326

If you are an estranged student at the University or would like to find out more information about the support available you can contact Maria Tottle who is available for 1:1 advice, support and coaching throughout your time here. Maria can signpost you to additional support around the University and help you to work through any challenges or concerns you may have. 

Phone: 07811010176

How do we define an estranged student?

In higher education, the term ‘estranged’ applies to students who are under 25 and have limited or no communication with either of their parents. They may be estranged before entering higher education but can also be at risk of estrangement or becoming estranged during their studies.

You can find out more about how your Student Finance application is assessed as an estranged student hereThis is the form that you will be required to fill in to demonstrate estrangement to Student Finance England. Information is also available about support available to estranged students from Wales and Scotland.

If your personal circumstances don’t meet the above definitions (for example, if you are considering estrangement or living with siblings, wider family or friends), or you're not sure, then please do get in contact with us as we’d be happy to talk to you about the support available.  

Have you been in care?

If you have been in local authority care, you may be considered a ‘care leaver’ rather than estranged. Please see our information for care leavers about the support available to you.

Helping you thrive

You can find information about support, financing your studies and accommodation options as an estranged student at the University of Bristol below.


We understand that in the current situation you may be feeling anxious and uncertain about what is happening. The University is here to support you during this difficult time. It’s also important to note that the University is still open but operating in different ways for some services and buildings. Find the latest information on our Coronavirus page
Maria, our dedicated care leaver and estranged student contact, is able to provide you with support and guidance. She is contactable by email or via Skype for Business. Maria will be sending regular updates, as well as opportunities to stay in touch with her and with each other. To make sure you receive these emails please complete our support for care leavers and estranged students form.

Read our Stand Alone Pledge

Sign up for our bulletin

If you would like to receive a regular bulletin from Maria, the contact for estranged students, please fill in this short form with your details. Details will only be used to send you a bulletin (approximately once a month) and will not be shared with anyone outside the team. Register for a regular bulletin
The bulletin will include information about any socials for care leaver and estranged students, opportunities such as internships, university related activities and occasional work or research opportunities from outside the University.
Your details will be kept in a password protected document on the University sharepoint and will not be shared with any third parties. We will keep this until the end of the academic year, at which point we will ask you if you would like to remain on the mailing list for the following academic year.

Kinship care

If you have been brought up by a relative or friend through a formal arrangement (e.g. fostering or Special Guardianship Order) – you are considered as living ‘in care’ and are typically eligible for support as a care leaver.

If your kinship care arrangements are informal (i.e. you are not considered ‘in care’) you may still be eligible for support as an estranged student.

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