How we support students who are care leavers or have no family contact
As the start of term approaches, you will receive a lot of information from us. You will be sent task lists, advice and guidance and invitations to join Belong at Brighton events – this is to help you prepare for your new adventure as a university student.
We aim to reach all prospective and returning students, but we particularly want to connect with those individuals who have limited or no contact with their natural or adoptive parents and are a care leaver or irreconcilably estranged form their parent/s.
If you think this applies to you, please get in touch with us so we can make sure you are getting all the support you need. We can help you secure a place in Halls, register for the university’s mentoring programme, get started on a budget, apply for full student finance and ensure you are assessed for a Care Leavers or Estranged Students Bursary
There is really helpful advice on how to go about proving your family issues to Student Finance, from the charity StandAlone. This organisation supports care leavers and estranged students in higher education and have really useful guides online and their Chief Executive and founder, Dr Becca Bland, is not only a member of the University of Brighton alumni but was also awarded an honorary doctorate by our Vice Chancellor.
We have signed the Stand Alone pledge and you can find out more information about our commitment to supporting estranged students here
You will need to show evidence to Student Finance that you have no contact with either of your parents. We advise you to provide as much information as you can to explain the situation with your parent/s, but make sure at least one of the statements is from an independent person with good standing in the community who knows you well – this should not be a relative or close family friend. If you have been in care, then it should be possible to get a statement from the local authority, social worker or Foyer. If you are estranged, you could ask a teacher from your old school or college who knew about your family issues, or perhaps your doctor, if they were aware of problems at home.
If you feel comfortable enough, you could explain your family situation in your own words and make a timeline of key events. Alternatively, you can can complete this simple form for Student Finance
This may seem daunting, but Student Finance have a dedicated team who are really helpful and non judgemental. They can review your evidence and make suggestions about how you could strengthen your proof if needed. If you have any concerns about getting any evidence safely, please contact the Student Advice Service at Brighton as we can liaise with Student Finance with your consent.
We are here to help you and we are ready to answer any questions you may have. All you need to do is email us so we can begin the conversation about how to get you the support you need to start the next exciting phase of your life – as a student at the University of Brighton.
Student Advice Service