Undergraduate study - 2024 entry
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Estranged students

If you have no contact with your family or guardians, we can help you with the university application process, find financial help and access to all year-round accommodation if you need it, plus support you throughout your degree.

Definition of an estranged student

We define you as an estranged student if the following applies:  

  • you have no contact with your family or guardians 

  • you do not have financial or emotional support from your family or guardians 

  • you are under the age of 25 years old at the start of your degree 

What entry requirements to apply with

If you’ve completed a recognised bridging programme

If you’re an estranged student and have completed a recognised bridging programme, then you meet the criteria for a Plus Flag widening access offer. This means we will consider your application if you have achieved or are predicted to achieve our minimum entry requirements, rather than our standard entry requirements. 

Recognised bridging programme details 

Find entry requirements on our degree finder 

If you live permanently in the UK, then we usually offer you a place on your chosen degree wherever this is possible. 

If you’ve not completed a recognised bridging programme

If you’ve not completed a recognised bridging programme, then we will assess your application using the standard entry requirements criteria and consider your application under the University’s challenging circumstances policy, provided you have added information about your circumstances in your UCAS application. 

Widening access offers information

Challenging circumstances information

State you're estranged on your UCAS application 

When you apply for your chosen degree on the UCAS website, there is a section in the application which asks if you are estranged from your family or guardians.  

You can contact our team to discuss your circumstances and get support with your application.  

Contact us by email 

Apply for funding

As an estranged student, you will have access to extra financial help while you’re at the University. 

First, you need to apply for funding and need to show: 

  • you have been estranged from your family or guardians for 12 months or more (this is assessed on a case-by-case basis) 


  • you are unlikely to resolve the relationship  

You must show this evidence when you apply for financial help from your government student finance provider, such as the following: 

We can help you get this evidence and help you with your funding application.  

Contact us by email  

If you live permanently in the UK

If you live permanently in the UK, then you are eligible for the Access Edinburgh scholarship. This scholarship will give you money every year of your programme to help cover your costs. You do not need to pay this money back after you graduate.   

Access Edinburgh scholarship 

Apply for accommodation 

University accommodation  

As an estranged student, you will be guaranteed university accommodation for every year of your degree programme and you will need to apply by the deadline.  

University accommodation options 

If you need access to all year-around accommodation, including the University holiday periods, then we can arrange this for you.  

Contact us by email 

Private student accommodation 

Or you can apply for an accommodation scholarship from the Unite Foundation to live in private student accommodation for three years of study (there are a limited number of scholarships available).  

You will need to make sure you meet all the criteria for this accommodation award and apply by the deadline.  

Unite Foundation Student Awards information  

When you’re a University student

Support from your named contact

While you’re a student at the University, you will have access to a member of our Edinburgh Cares team known as a named contact. This person is available to help you at any time throughout your whole degree.  

Access to health and wellbeing services 

If you need to use any health and wellbeing services, we can guide you to the right place to find help.  

Health and wellbeing services 

Social groups

We can help connect you with other students so you can make new friends at the University.  

We organise social events to help you feel part of our community. In the past, our team has organised bouldering activities, a day trip to the beach and theatre trips.  

University sports clubs  

University society groups  


Peer mentor

In your first year, you can take part in our peer mentoring programme which allows you to connect with a student mentor every two weeks in the first couple of semesters to help you settle into university.   

Peer mentoring 

Staff mentor 

Throughout your degree, you can take part in our staff mentoring programme which allows you to meet with a trained member of staff on a one-to-one basis, and this person can give your guidance on the wider university experience.  

Staff mentoring 


Contact the Edinburgh Cares team

Email: edinburghcares@ed.ac.uk

Phone: 07884 117 146 (contact hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm UK time) 

Contact us through an online sign language interpreter

British Sign Language (BSL) users can contact the University of Edinburgh via Contact Scotland BSL, the online British Sign Language video relay interpreting service.

Find out more on the Contact Scotland BSL website