Estranged students and student carers

Many universities provide additional support to other student groups at risk of not achieving their full potential – those who are estranged and studying without family support, and students with caring responsibilities. The support made available to these students may be similar to that in place for Care-Experienced students.

Estranged Students

Estranged students are young people studying without the support of a family network, due to a breakdown in those relationships. Students in this position often have no contact at all with their family, or sporadic and conflicting contact. Causes of a breakdown of familial relationships could include (but are not limited to): emotional or physical abuse, mismatched expectations about family roles and relationships, or a clash of personality or values. Estranged students have no experience of being in care and do not have a corporate parent responsible for them.

For more information: StandAlone [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]


Student Carers

Student Carers are students who at any point of their studies provide unpaid emotional or practical support for a relative, friend or neighbour, who, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without that support.

For more information: Carers Trust Scotland

Case study: University of Glasgow

Support for estranged students

The University of Glasgow recognises that estranged students face many issues and barriers in their educational journey similar to those experienced by young people who have spent time in care, particularly in relation to finance, accommodation and mental health. At the point a young person usually becomes estranged from their family, aged 16-18, a local authority no longer has a legal responsibility to become involved in that young person’s life. Although estranged students are not covered by Corporate Parenting legislation, the University extends them the same provision it has in place for its Care-Experienced students. This includes:

  • participation in pre-entry programme and guaranteed adjusted offer of entry
  • dedicated, ring-fenced financial support
  • 365 days-per-year accommodation guarantee
  • dedicated named points of contact, providing 1-2-1 support, guidance and advocacy, from application to graduation.

The University of Glasgow has signed the StandAlone Pledge for Estranged Students in 2016, and states explicitly within its Corporate Parenting Plan that it extends this support to estranged students, even where these young people have never been ‘looked after’ by a local authority.

For more information, visit the University of Glasgow ‘Support for estranged students’.

Support for student carers

Similarly, the University of Glasgow recognises that students with caring responsibilities can also face challenges in engaging with and successfully completing degree-level study. We understand how caring responsibilities can, for example, impact on student attendance, opportunities for part-time work and social interactions. Student Carers are also more likely to experience issues related to their mental health.

In 2019 the University of Glasgow was awarded the Carers’ Trust Going Higher for Student Carers Recognition Award for the support it has in place for this student group. The University’s provision for student carers includes:

  • Participation in pre-entry programme and guaranteed adjusted offer of entry
  • Student Carers Policy & bespoke Student Carers Plans
  • Priority financial support
  • Dedicated named points of contact within the University’s Widening Participation team, providing 1-2-1 support, guidance and advocacy, from application to graduation.

For more information, visit University of Glasgow ‘Supporting student carers’.

Corporate Parenting in your institution

Corporate Parenting and you