Support for Estranged Students

It can be a daunting time coming to university without having the support of a family network. If you are an estranged student who no longer has any contact with your parents or guardians and are considering coming to Keele University, or you're already a student here, we will provide you with a package of support that can help you pre-entry and throughout your time at University.

A Dedicated Contact for Estranged Students

Kate Mayer is Keele University's dedicated contact for estranged students. Kate works in the Money and Welfare Team in Student Support and can offer tailored, individual and sustained support prior to arrival and throughout your time as a Keele student.

Any contact you have with Kate will be kept completely confidential and your choices respected at all times.

If you have any questions about studying at Keele and the support available you can contact Kate using the contact details at the bottom of this page.

Pre-entry support

If you would like support and advice prior to your arrival please get in touch with the dedicated contact in the Money and Welfare Team, who can answer any questions and concerns you may have and can also help to make any arrangements you need to ease your transition to university. You may wish to make an appointment with the dedicated contact for in your first few weeks at Keele to have an informal discussion about how we can support you throughout your time at University.

We also run a number of events and activities that can help to support you prior to your arrival at Keele:

Logo of 2 students one with question marks around her head talking to a Keele mentor Keele Mentors

Once your place at Keele has been confirmed you can choose to be matched with a Keele Mentor who can provide peer support before your course starts. Your mentor can answer any questions you may have about the course and University life and share their experiences.

Keele4All Pre-Arrival Event

You may wish to attend the Keele 4 All pre-arrival event before you start University. The event offers a great opportunity to meet other students new to Keele and will help you get to know the Keele campus. It will also give you the opportunity to meet Student Support staff members who will be able to offer you tailored advice and guidance.




Accommodation for Care Leavers and Estranged Students

Care leavers and estranged students are prioritised for on campus accommodation as long as applications for accommodation are submitted by the deadline.

We can offer accommodation for 51 weeks if students wish to stay in the same room for the whole year. It may not be possible to stay in the same room for the duration of your studies. 

The following room types are available for 51 week accommodation contracts:

  • Standard Room with Washbasin Band B in Traditional Block
  • Flat (shared between 4 students, each student has their own bedroom)
  • Premier Flat

Please be aware that due to the nature of the 51 week contracts you are likely to be sharing with postgraduate students or nursing and midwifery students.

More information about room types and the costs can be found on the accommodation services webpages:

Should you decide to select a 44 or 37 week contract you will still be able to access year round accommodation on campus, however you will be required to apply for vacation accommodation at the end of your contract and will most likely be required to move rooms.

If you have any further questions about applying for on campus accommodation please email:

Living off campus

If you would like to live off campus we can also provide advice and support on how to find accommodation in the local area through the dedicated care leaver contact and the ASK service at the Keele Students’ Union.

For more information about support available for students living off campus please visit our Local and Commuter Student webpages

Financial Support

Picture of a stack of pound coins with a toy pig sat on top The precise amount of funding you will receive each year will depend on your individual circumstances.

Applying to Student Finance for Independent Status

Student Finance England and NHS Student Bursaries must assess estranged students for financial support on their own household income and not that of their biological parent(s). To be eligible, students normally have to provide evidence from an independent trusted person (e.g. teacher or social worker) that:

  • they have had no written or verbal contact from their parents for 12 months before the start of their course (exceptions to this timescale can be made in extreme circumstances)
  • they expect this situation to be irreconcilable.

For more information on how to apply to Student Finance for independent status please click here.

Bursary for Estranged Students

For 2018 entry:

For students starting at Keele in September 2018 we will be offering a non-repayable bursary of £1000 for all undergraduate and postgraduate taught students who meet the following criteria:

  • Commence their undergraduate or postgraduate taught master’s degree at Keele in September 2018
  • Are classed as a ‘home’ student for fee status purposes.
  • Are under the age of 25 at the start of their course at Keele.


  • Have spent at least 13 weeks in care (e.g. foster care or children’s home) since the age of 14 and were in care on their 16th birthday OR
  • Were privately fostered until the age of 16 or were 'looked after' until they were subject to a Special Guardianship Order OR
  • Have been assessed as independent by Student Finance England or other local authority, because they are estranged from their parents or guardian. 

In order to access the bursary you will need to provide evidence that you meet the eligibility criteria. 

Estranged students will need to provide evidence from a professional person that they are irreconcilably estranged from their parent or guardian and evidence that they have been assessed as independent from Student Finance.

Estranged students will need to provide evidence that they meet the eligibility criteria at the beginning of each year of study in order to receive the bursary.

Evidence can be sent to the dedicated contact in Student Services at the following address:

Kate Mayer

Student Services Centre, Tawney Building, Keele University, Keele, ST5 5BG

OR email to


Please click here for more information on Bursaries and Scholarships available.

Students who start their course prior to 2018

If you have started your course prior to 2017 you may still be entitled to additional financial support if you are estranged from your family. Please contact to make an appointment with the dedicated contact to discuss what support you would be eligible for. 

What if I am not assessed as independent by Student Finance?

If you are having trouble applying to Student Finance for independant status you can get in touch with the dedicated contact you can provide advice and support for your application. 

We will also be able to advise on alternative financial support that you may be able to access including our Hardship fund and Emergency Loans. 

Personalised Financial Advice and Support

If you are unsure of what financial support you are entitled to you can contact our Money and Welfare Team who can advise on bursaries and scholarships, how to apply for student finance and budgeting.


Support throughout your studies

There is lots of support available for you at Keele when you need it. The dedicated contact can help to direct you to the right support across the University.

Support on your course

All students at Keele are allocated a personal tutor who is a single point of contact on your course who can provide support and advice on academic and non-academic issues.  With your permission the dedicated contact can liaise with your personal tutor to ensure we provide the right support for you.

If you are experiencing any personal difficulties that may affect your studies you can submit exceptional circumstances to your school for these to be taken into consideration.

Study Skills Support

The Student Learning service provide online resources, workshops and drop in services to help you to develop your academic, personal and professional skills.

Counselling and Mental Health

University can be an exciting time but it can also bring with it stress and challenge. The Counselling and Mental Health service offers a team of experienced counsellors who can support you during your time at University if you need it.

Disability and Dyslexia Support

If you have a disability, including specific learning difficulties or mental health and wellbeing issues the team can advise on a wide range of support to meet your individual needs. It is a good idea to contact the Disability and Dyslexia Support team before you arrive at Keele University to discuss any support you may need.

Support with Childcare

If you are a parent there is childcare support on campus at the Keele Day Nursery. For more information on nursery fees, booking places and funding please visit the nursery webpage.

You can also find out about advice and support for student parents on our dedicated webpages.


Planning your Future

Coming to the end of your studies can be a daunting time for all students, but as an estranged student you may also have additional concerns. The dedicated contact is here to help you discuss any issues or concerns and help you with the transition from university and post graduation. We can also support you to achieve your career aspirations. 

Careers and Employability 

Careers and Employability seek to support and inform you throughout your time at Keele and beyond, whether you are very clear about your career plans or have not given your future a second thought.  Either way, your dedicated Careers Adviser, Keren Coney, is available to discuss how to make the most of your future.

Keren careers adviser Please contact Keren for:
  • support with planning your career
  •  advice on job-searching strategies
  • suggestions on how to create winning CVs and how to be successful at interview
  • information relating to careers, employers and work
To contact Keren, you can:
  • Email
  • Telephone (01782) 734623
  • Call in to Careers and Employability, on the ground floor of the Library.

Contact nameKate Mayer
Telephone01782 734481

Stand Alone Support Groups Cropped

Stand Alone is a charity that supports people who are estranged from their families and can provide advice and support. 
They also offer support groups across the country that provide a non-judgemental space where you can share thoughts and experiences with others in a similar position together. For more information click here.
If you would like to attend a Stand Alone support group but may require support with travel expenses please contact