University of York: University of York receives award for ‘overall excellence’ in supporting estranged students

The award, from the Stand Alone Pledge, highlights the University’s support for estranged students during their time at York, along with the personal commitment and support of individual staff members and teams.

York’s estranged students nominated the University for the award, with 52 students across 14 universities submitting entries.

The award recognises the University’s overall excellence across five areas of support: financial support, accommodation, mental health & wellbeing, pre-entry information and guidance, as well as graduation and moving on.

Support package

In 2021, the University’s support package has ensured estranged students are:

eligible for the Care Leavers and Estranged Students Bursary (which totals £3,000 in first year, £2,500 in subsequent years and £1,000 after graduation).
a priority group for the University’s student support fund if they need additional assistance.
prioritised for dedicated ongoing support, guaranteed 52 week accommodation and rent guarantor schemes with kitchen and bedding packs provided for all students moving into campus accommodation.
able to receive specialist advice on student finance and a Student Buddying Scheme where new students will be matched with a current estranged student prior to their arrival.

Stand Alone is a charity committed to developing support for estranged students in higher education, and its ‘Stand Alone Pledge’ helps higher education institutions develop support and enable estranged young students to stay resilient.

By making the Stand Alone Pledge, universities publicly commit to supporting students who are studying without the support or approval of a family network.

Estranged students drop out of Higher Education at a rate that is three times higher than the average student. Many are determined to study, but a lack of material and emotional support and/or approval from their family can act as a disadvantage

The pledge recognises that estranged students should not be held back from succeeding in Higher Education, and helps institutions to develop support.

Special mention

Fran Hornsby, the Dedicated Contact for Care Experienced and Estranged Students received a special mention from students along with Joss Parker, Student Support Office.

Fran said: “We’re absolutely delighted to receive this award ‘For overall excellence’ for the support we offer our estranged students, which is even more special as we were nominated for this by our very own students. It’s an absolute privilege to know these individuals and be part of making a difference to them.”

Professor Tracy Lightfoot, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching, Learning and Students, said: “The University of York’s values of community, equality, excellence, opportunity for all are at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we are committed to ensuring students from underrepresented groups, such as estranged students, are fully supported to succeed and thrive in their studies.

“As always, there is more to be done, but this award demonstrates our success and ongoing commitment to supporting estranged students throughout their studies at the University of York.”