Checklist for sending evidence to Student Finance

Student Finance England and Wales require supporting statements from trusted independent parties as evidence to confirm your family estrangement. They ask for independent verification of your position to prevent students who do have a supportive family from fraudulently claiming more money than they are entitled. The check list below will help you to avoid common mistakes when submitting supporting statements...

Have you made your circumstances clear? If you feel comfortable enough, do explain your family situation in your own words and make a timeline of key events. This may help Student Finance England or Wales to identify the right supporting statements which you can provide to clarify your situation.

Have you provided as many statements as you can? Provide as many supporting statements as you can but make sure at least one of the statements is from an independent person with good standing in the community, that has known you for a substantial period of time and is not a relative or family friend.

Are my statements suitable? Make sure that your statements from independent persons are on headed paper where possible, and that your statement includes a telephone number so the person can be contacted.

Have I told my reference that I may need future support? Inform the independent person with good standing that you may need him/her to re-confirm your circumstances to Student Finance in the second and third year of your course.

Will your referee be leaving his or her job soon? Ask for their secondary e-mail address if they think they may be likely to leave their current role whilst you are studying. This means you can always get back in touch should you need further supporting statements.

Have I sent all of my statements together in one envelope? We advise that you send all of your statements together in the same envelope and so the operative can grasp the whole picture of your circumstances when they assess your case.

Have I got a record of when I sent my statements? We advise that you always send your statements to Student Finance via recorded delivery and keep a record of the receipt for future reference.

Am I panicking unnecessarily? Student Finance offers guidance for estranged students, but each case is different. It’s wise to expect that you may need to send in more supporting statements to clarify your circumstances, and that the process may take a few months to complete.

Have I given the team at SFE or SFW enough time to process my application or further statements? Be patient and expect a response for each supporting statement to take around six weeks to come through.

Have I kept my documents safe? Scan and safely keep copies of all your supporting statements from all years that you submit them. Ask your referees to do the same.

Is finding a statement going to put me at risk? Never compromise your health in order to find a supporting statement, and don’t try to find statements that you think will increase the chances of damaging your emotional well-being. Am I accessing the support available?

Don’t search for evidence alone! Use the support that is available to you when going through this process. There’s a list of organisations and student support services here that will give you emotional support whilst you make these steps towards your future, you can contact them even if you are applying for university and not yet enrolled at their institution. These people have experience of helping estranged students, as well as suggesting the best person to reference your estrangement.

Key sources of support:

If you’re struggling to understand the supporting statements you need to provide as an independent student, please get in touch with your current or first choice university support service. You can find the right person or team here:

You can follow Stand Alone on Twitter @StandAloneHE or like our page on Facebook: for general advice and support with your application.

You can join our student mailing list to get updates about support services and the financial help available for estranged students at your university:

To ask questions and talk to other students in the same situation, you can register to join our Facebook support group:

Other sources of support:

If you are feeling a marked drop in your mood or well-being, visit your GP and tell them about your situation. It could be useful to take this information sheet with you.

If you feel triggered by this process and need to talk about something urgently, ring The Samaritans free on 116 123 or e-mail

If you are experiencing family estrangement as a result of escaping forced marriage or honour abuse, call the Karma Nirvana helpline 0800 5999247

If you are an abuse survivor and want specific help with processing and understanding your past, contact the National Association for People Abused in Childhood support line on 0800 085 3330

If you would like to find a therapist or counsellor that understands family estrangement, you can refer to our recommended therapists or seek out your own support on:

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