The University won in the ‘graduation and beyond’ category for its innovative approach in increased support for estranged students, implemented by former Vice-Chancellor and President of the University, Professor Geoffrey Petts.

In its commitment to maximise student experience, the University has been recognised in relation to extended summer employment contracts for final year estranged students. With the support from the Sir John Cass’ Foundation and The Hollick Family Charitable Trust, the University Student Advice and the Development team have also secured external funding for graduation and transition from university.

The University of Westminster became one of the ‘Champion’ Universities across the UK to commit to the Stand Alone pledge in 2016, when Professor Petts wrote a public letter of commitment to the pledge, kick-starting the University’s work towards creating the right environment and conditions for estranged students in their studies.

Anne McGrath, Student Adviser for Care Leavers/Estranged students said: “We are delighted to receive this award in recognition of our ongoing commitment to estranged students, which intrinsically ties into our values as an institution supporting diversity and inclusion. Experiencing university as an estranged student without family support can be difficult. Helping estranged students overcome disadvantage and reach their full potential with our support and guidance is essential. We look forward to developing the great work we do around vulnerable students.”

Estranged students are those under the age of 25 who are studying without the support and approval of a family network and have been classified as independent on the grounds of estrangement by Student Finance England.

The University of Westminster provides continuous guidance and support by raising awareness of the needs of estranged students, enabling them to make the most of their time in Higher Education and helping other higher education providers to identify how to best support them. 

Our Student Advice team help with SFE financial support and entitlement, including access to bursaries and how to better manage money, including accommodation scholarships in partnership with the Unite Foundation.

Rebecca Bland, Chief Executive, and Susan Mueller, Project Director at Stand Alone, said: “We feel your innovative work is a role model for others in the sector who are looking for initiatives that can help overcome some of the unique struggles and barriers that estranged young people face in Higher Education.”

The University of Westminster has over 175 years of promoting education for all. Building on our roots as a diverse and innovative institution with a social conscience, we strive to support students with individual needs. Our student support is designed to make the journey into Higher Education as seamless as possible for all of our students and we work in collaboration with the Students’ Union to improve our joint welfare support.

Find out more about the support offered to estranged students at the University of Westminster.

Read more about the University of Westminster Stand Alone pledge.

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