Solo was developed in response to the challenges estranged students face in higher education. The project connects students with support and community, educates supporters, researches estranged students' experiences, and improves support for estranged students, with the ultimate goal of improving estranged students' experiences at Warwick.
Who do we mean by 'estranged students'?
This project uses a definition of estrangement drawn from the work of the charity StandAlone.
Estranged students are those studying without the support and approval of their parents and often the wider family network. Students in this position often have no contact at all with their family, have removed themselves from a dysfunctional situation or have been disowned.
Estrangement can take many forms. Some people experience a finite, sudden break in the relationship with immediate cut-off. For others, estrangement is a process or experienced as a journey. Some students may be going through this process of distancing themselves from their parents/family.
Most will not use the label of ‘estrangement.’ Keep in mind that some students may decide the word does not suit them, others may not realise that what they are going through has a name.
There are many different ways to define estrangement, and the definition used by different institutions and services has an impact on who is eligible to access support such as enhanced student finance and bursaries.
Are you estranged?
You are not alone. Support is available.
Whether you are applying or mid-studies, the University has a package of support to assist you.
Are you supporting an estranged student?
The University has a named contact for estranged students support, along with a package of support to offer.
Understanding estranged students' experiences
Estranged students face a unique set of challenges impacting their university experience. We can build a community with awareness and understanding.
What does Solo do?
Education and awareness raising
- Awareness raising and reducing the stigma associated with estrangement by educating staff and students.
- A programme of activities for Estranged Student Solidarity Week annually.
Community and peer support
- Establishing a peer support group for estranged students.
- Establishing a buddy scheme for estranged students.
- Welcome activities for estranged students to connect with one another and opportunities & support that's available.
- Connecting with the This is Us estranged students community nationally.
Mental health and wellbeing support
- Working with Wellbeing Support Services to expand relevant mental health and wellbeing support.
- Addressing the stigma and other concerns associated with accessing mental health and wellbeing support.
- Researching specific stresses associated with being an estranged student, and developing an institutional response/interventions to reduce them e.g. arrival support, settling in, holidays, moving home.
Student finances and hardship support
- Raising awareness of the institutional support and opportunities available, including 52-week accommodation and summer internships.
- Raising awareness of relevant external support and opportunities, such as the Unite Foundation scholarship.
- Exploring the possibility of a summer bursary scheme.
- Exploring the possibility of a guarantor and deposit scheme.
Improving estranged students' experiences
- Research relating to estranged students' experiences.
- Making recommendations to the University to improve estranged students' experiences.
- Reviewing the institutional definition of 'estranged'.
- Developing a guide for students estranged mid-studies.