SOAS University of London

Access, Participation and Student Success

Information for Estranged Students and Care Leavers

At SOAS we understand that having a complicated support network can have an impact in terms of educational attainment. Due to this we provide individualised additional support pre-entry and throughout studies for students who are classed as an estranged student or a care leaver.

Estranged Ted


Estranged Student: The term 'estranged student' refers to a young person aged 18-24 who no longer holds a communicative relationship with either of their biological or adoptive parents. This situation is believed to be irreconcilable and there has been no contact for a significant period of time.

Care Leaver: The term 'care leaver' refers to a young person under the age of 25 who is currently or has been in public care for a minimum of three months since the age of 14 and was in public care on their 16th birthday.

If you are unsure about whether either of these definitions applies to you please contact our dedicated member of staff on the details below to discuss your situation.

Pre-entry Support

  • Dedicated Member of Staff: Our dedicated member of staff for estranged students and care leavers can help prospective and incoming students to understand the additional support that may be available to them, providing an ongoing point of contact who understands their situation
  • SOAS’ Widening Participation Outreach: The WP Team will prioritise applications from estranged students and care leavers for a variety of free to attend activities, such as Summer Schools (Year 12 students) 

Support for Current Students

Estranged Ted seeking advice from Student Advice and Wellbeing
  • Dedicated Member of Staff: Our dedicated member of staff for estranged students and care leavers is able to liaise with internal departments on the student’s behalf and provides an ongoing point of contact for pastoral support
  • Financial Advice and Support: The Student Advisor (Finance and Immigration) can support students in being assessed as independent for Student Finance England, applying to the Access to Learning Fund and addressing budgeting concerns. Further information on applying for Student Finance England as an estranged student is available through the charity Stand Alone
  • Accommodation Advice: The Accommodation Officer can support students in navigating options to find suitable accommodation throughout studies
  • Mental Health Support: Current SOAS students have access to services such as counselling and professional mentoring through the Student Advice and Wellbeing Team

For Additional Advice and Support

  • Buttle UK provides financial help to young people aged 16-20 who receive no support from their parents or guardians in order to pursue an educational or employment goal
  • The Care Leavers Association provides advice, guidance and advocacy support in terms of entitlements leaving care
  • The Care Leavers’ Foundation provides small grants to care leavers aged 18-29
  • Stand Alone offers information guides for estranged students and organises support groups
  • Student Finance England provides further information on the financial packages available to estranged students and care leavers
  • Turn2us provides a free service for those in financial need to access welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help