If you're applying as an independent student, here's what you'll need to do to apply for student finance. Content provided by Student Finance England.
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If you’re an independent student, Student Finance England won’t take your parents’ income into account when working out how much student finance you can get.

If you’re married, in a civil partnership, or over 25 and living with your partner, Student Finance England will ask your partner for their National Insurance number and personal income details.

You'll be classed as independent if:

  • you care for a person under the age of 18 on the first day of the academic year you’re applying for student finance
  • you’re 25 or over on the first day of the academic year you’re applying for student finance
  • you’ve been married or in a civil partnership before the start of the academic year (even if you’re now divorced or separated)
  • you have no living parents
  • you’ve supported yourself for at least three years before the start of your course
  • your parents can’t be traced, or it’s not practical or possible to contact them
  • your parents live outside the EU and an income assessment would put them in jeopardy, or it’s not reasonably practical for them to send funds to the UK to help support you
  • you’ve not communicated with your parents for one year before the start of the academic year that you’re applying for student finance, or you can demonstrate you’re permanently estranged from your parents
  • you’ve been in care for any three month period ending on or after the date you turned 16, and before the first day of the first academic year of your course

Supplying evidence

Depending on your circumstances, you might need to send Student Finance England:

  • your marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • photocopies of your P60s, or a letter from your employer(s)
  • a letter from your local Jobcentre Plus office
  • a letter from your local council or care authority
  • your child’s birth certificate

Estranged students

If you’ve had little or no contact with your parents for at least 12 months, you might be classed as estranged, and may be able to apply for student finance as an independent student.

You’ll need to prove that the lack of contact is permanent.

Student Finance England will also need confirmation of your circumstances from a professional person, outside your family. This could be:

  • a letter from your social worker
  • a letter from your Jobcentre Plus office showing you get benefits because of your situation
  • a letter from an advice worker, personal tutor, or teacher
  • a letter from your doctor

This person must also fill in an Estrangement Declaration form.


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