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Document What is an independent student?

If you are deemed to be ‘independent’, you will not need to provide your parent(s) income details to be assessed for the means tested bursary. You will instead be required to supply income details of your spouse, civil partner or partner if you have one.

You can be classed as independent if you can demonstrate you meet one or more of the following:
  • You have supported yourself from your own earnings for an aggregate of 36 months before the start of the first academic year of the course. Earnings cannot include Student Finance England (or equivalent), student loans and grants or any other form of mandatory award. The 36 months don't need to be one continuous period and can also include any periods in which you were;

    - participating in arrangements for training for the unemployed under any scheme operated, sponsored or funded by a state authority
    - in receipt of benefits payable by a state authority in respect of a person who is unemployed but available for work
    - available for employment and had complied with any requirement imposed by a state authority as a condition of receiving benefits or training
    - in receipt of a State Studentship or similar award
    - in receipt of any pension, allowance or other benefit paid by reason of a disability to which you are subject, or by reason of maternity, injury or sickness, paid by any person
    - responsible for the care of a person under the age of 18 who was dependent on you such that you could not reasonably have been expected to support yourself out of your earnings (applicable to students whose course commenced before 31 August 2007 only)
  • You have been married, in a civil partnership, divorced or widowed.
  • You have no parents living.
  • You have been irreconcilably estranged (have no contact) from both parents for over 12 months.
  • You have satisfied NHS Student Bursaries that your parents cannot be found or that it is not reasonably practicable to get in touch with them.
  • You were in the care of a local authority or voluntary organisation, or were under a custodianship order on the 18th birthday or immediately before their course if they are not 18 when it begins
  • You are a member of a religious order who lives in a house of his or her order.
  • Your parents are residing outside the EU in circumstances where the assessment of a parental contribution would put them in jeopardy or that it would not be reasonably practicable for them to send any such contribution to the UK, for example, they reside in a country where there is political unrest.
  • You are attending a course which started before 1 September 2007 and are over the age of 25 before the academic year concerned.
  • You are responsible or have joint custody for the care of a dependent child or children (under 18 years of age) on the first day of the academic year for which an application is being made and your course commenced on or after 1 September 2007.

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