2015/16 What’s an independent student? Evidence Estrangement Independent student status SF_England /SFEFILM SFEngland January 2015 Independent student status If a student is independent we won’t take their parent’s income into account when working out the household income and contribution. If the student is married, in a civil partnership or over 25 and living with their partner, we’ll take the income of their husband, wife, civil partner or partner into account. What’s an independent student? A student will be considered independent if: • They have the care of a person under the age of 18 on the first day of the academic year which they’re applying for support. • They’re 25 or over on the first day of the academic year which they’re applying for support. • They’ve been married or in a civil partnership before the start of the academic year, even if they’re now divorced or separated. • They have no living parents. ?? ? • They’ve supported themselves for at least three years before the start of their course. This includes any time they: - were in paid, full-time employment - received Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or other state benefits - received any pension, allowance or other benefit because of their disability or by any reason of confinement, sickness or illness - received training under any scheme for the unemployed or other funding by any state authority or agency • Their parents can’t be traced or it’s not practical or possible to contact them. • Their parents live outside the European Commission and an income assessment would put them in jeopardy, or it’s not reasonably practical for them to send funds to the UK if a contribution were assessed (this may apply to a student who’s a refugee). • They’ve not communicated with their parents for one year before the beginning of the academic year they’re applying for support for, or they can demonstrate they’re permanently estranged from their parents. • Subject to certain exceptions, they were looked after by a local authority throughout any three month period ending on or after the date they turned 16, and before the first day of the first academic year of their course. Student Finance England is a service provided by the Student Loans Company. We provide financial support on behalf of the UK Government to students from England entering higher education in the UK. Independent student status Evidence If the student is, or has been, married or in a civil partnership we’ll need to see their marriage certificate or civil partnership schedule. EVIDENCE If they’re applying as an independent student because they’ve supported themselves for three years or more, they must provide evidence to show how they’ve supported themselves. If they’ve been working or claiming benefits they must provide written confirmation of this. Acceptable proof includes photocopies of their P60s or letters from their employers (signed, dated and on headed paper) confirming the dates they worked there and their levels of earnings. For periods where they’ve claimed benefits, students should ask their local Jobcentre Plus office for a letter confirming the dates they claimed benefits and the type of benefits received. If a student has care of a child and is applying for independent status, they should send the child’s birth certificate and provide evidence they’re caring for the child. For example, evidence they’re receiving Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit or the child element of Universal Credit. If a student doesn’t provide the correct evidence, it will delay their application and they might not get all the student finance they’re entitled to. Student Finance England is a service provided by the Student Loans Company. We provide financial support on behalf of the UK Government to students from England entering higher education in the UK. Independent student status Estrangement If a student wants to apply for independent status because they’re estranged from their parents, they must provide confirmation from a professional person, outside their family, who knows about their circumstances. Examples of evidence they could provide are: • A letter from their social worker, if they have one. • If they claimed income support when they were under 18, a letter from their Jobcentre Plus office showing they got benefits because of their situation. • If their relationship with their parents broke down while they were at school or college, a letter from an advice worker, personal tutor or teacher, confirming their circumstances. • If they’ve visited their doctor because of problems relating to the breakdown of their relationship with their parents, a letter from their doctor to confirm their circumstances. To qualify for independent status through estrangement, the student will need to prove the lack of contact with their parents is permanent. We would normally expect the student to have had no contact with their parents for at least 12 months, although this may not apply in exceptional circumstances. A student won’t be able to apply for independent status just because they don’t get on with their parents or because they don’t live with them. Similarly, they won’t be automatically able to apply for independent status because their parents refuse or don’t want to provide details of their income. Student Finance England is a service provided by the Student Loans Company. We provide financial support on behalf of the UK Government to students from England entering higher education in the UK.
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