So here at Swansea Uni, we recently successfully received the StandAlone pledge for our support to estranged students. This means that we pledge not only to support estranged students best we can, but also to commit to build the support available to ensure its improved in future.
But what does this mean?
Let’s start by talking about what being estranged actually means – the technical bit!
The term “estranged student” is used to refer to young people who do not have any form of relationship or contact with either of their biological parents and are therefore studying without the support of a family network.
This can obviously be difficult and can cause additional issues in the student journey.
For a start, Student Finance do recognise estranged students and class them as independent students when calculating their student finance. This means that they can be assessed on their own income and not the household income of their parents.
Without this, estranged students would likely only receive the minimum amount of funding available – which would be a struggle for any student without further parental support.
Unfortunately, this is not always as easy as it sounds!
In order to grant Independent status, Student finance need documentation to show you are estranged.
Got the documentation or know where you can get it from? Great!
But what if you don’t?
What if you’ve never talked to anyone about the issues that have occurred?
How do you prove you don’t speak to people?
It’s not always easy but there is help available – Money@CampusLife within Swansea University have experienced advisers who can help!
We will need to discuss your circumstances further, but we will be able to narrow down the documentation you can provide to ensure student finance accept your estranged status.
We will keep working with you until it gets accepted and also have a specific team in student finance we can contact directly on your behalf – this usually speeds up the process considerably!
If you are struggling financially whilst resolving your student finance issues, once you are enrolled you can also apply to the Swansea University Opportunity Award also administered by Money@CampusLife. This ensures that money does not become a barrier to you accessing your University education.
Any other support available?
Yup! Quite a bit actually!
So as well as the specialised support to ensure you receive your Student Finance, the Money@CampusLife team will also provide you with a named contact.
The idea of the named contact is that you have someone to go to ask questions or if you have any issues. They can’t solve every problem you have, but will at least be able to point you in the right direction of someone who can.
You will also have a specific named contact in the library and GoWales – this will ensure you can obtain support with your career planning. They can also support you if you wish to undertake work experience, paid and unpaid work placements to further your experience and build up your CV.
Finally, we can also sort you out with 52 week a year accommodation – so you always have somewhere to go, and you can apply to the Swansea University Opportunity Award to help towards the extra costs incurred over the summer.
If you want to get in touch with the Money@CampusLife team, our contact details are here: www.swansea.ac.uk/money-campuslife/contactus/
Remember, we are here to help you as and when you need it. We don’t chase you or treat you differently to any other student, but if you need help and support – that’s what we are here for.