Stage 2: Making an application
Full-time undergraduate, Welsh students

Independent and estranged students

Independent students

If you’re an independent student, we will not take your parents’ income into account when we’re working out how much student finance you can get. If you’re married or live with a partner, we may take their income into consideration instead, depending on what age you are and when your course started.

Who qualifies

You will be considered as independent if:

  • you’re 25 or over
  • you’ve been married or in a civil partnership
  • you care for a child under 18
  • you’ve financially supported yourself for at least 3 years prior to the first day of the first academic year of your course
  • you have no living parents
  • your parents cannot be traced or it’s not possible to contact them
  • you’re permanently estranged from your parents
  • you’re a ‘care leaver’ who has been in the care of your local authority between the ages of 14 or 16, depending on when you started your course

Estranged students

If you have not had any contact with either parent for over a year, then you may be able to apply as an estranged student. Each application is considered on an individual basis.

You wouldn’t be able to apply as an estranged student just because:

  • your parents do not financially support you
  • you do not get on with your parents
  • you do not live with your parents

Care leavers

If you started your course on or after 1 August 2018, you must have:

  • been in the care of or been given accommodation by your local authority for at least 13 weeks from the age of 14 up to the start of your course

If you started your course before 1 August 2018, you must have:

  • been in the care of or been given accommodation by your local authority for at least 13 weeks before the age of 16
  • not reconciled with your parents since leaving care

Submitting evidence

If you’re 25 or over

You do not need to submit evidence, as you’ll already be considered an independent student.

You’ve been married or in a civil partnership

You should submit a copy of your marriage or civil partnership certificate, or a decree nisi/absolute if you’re divorced or separated.

You care for a child under 18

You should submit a copy of their original birth certificate along with evidence that you’re caring for them, such as a Child Benefit or Child Tax Credit letter.

You’ve financially supported yourself for at least 3 years

You should submit copies of your payslips, P60s or benefits letters showing that you had enough money to reasonably support yourself.

You have no living parents

You should submit copies of death certificates for both parents.

Your parents cannot be traced or it’s not possible to contact them

You should submit a signed and dated letter from an independent person (such as a doctor or social worker) explaining your situation.

You are permanently estranged from your parents

You can download a ‘confirmation of estrangement form’ in your online account.

You can also submit a signed and dated letter from an independent person (such as a doctor or social worker) explaining your situation.

You are a care leaver

You should submit a letter from the local authority confirming that you:

  • were under their care
  • have now left their care

are a care leaver under the Social Services and Wellbeing Act (Wales) 2014.

Stand Alone - supporting students who are estranged

This guide is for estranged students who are applying for independent status from Student Finance Wales