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Durham University

Estranged Students

Estranged Students

Who are estranged students?

Estranged students are young people studying without the support and approval of a family network. Estranged students typically have no contact with their biological parents and often even with their wider family for varying reasons.

At Durham University we recognise that it may be particularly challenging starting and studying at university without the support of a family network. Durham University is committed to supporting all those who have the merit and potential to succeed on one of our degree courses regardless of background. We particularly welcome applications from those who have experienced estrangement from their family.

If you are an estranged student currently studying at Durham; or you are a prospective student thinking about applying to Durham, these pages will tell you more about the support on offer at Durham University!

Is there someone I can contact for more information?

Yes! Jordan Donohue is the Universities point of contact for any current or prospective students who are estranged from their families. If you would like to contact Jordan to find out more about the support available at Durham University you can email Jordan at or call 0191 334 9374.

As a Durham student you have access to a vast range of support to enable you to make the most of your time at Durham.The below links will give you more information about some of the support available to you here at Durham. If you have any further questions please contact Jordan (

Colleges and Accommodation

All University accommodation is based in one of our colleges and every Durham University student belongs to a college, whether you live in college or elsewhere. Our colleges offer a vibrant, supportive community full of opportunities for you to gain new experiences, develop skills to achieve more in your future life and most importantly, have fun while you're at it! 365 day accommodation may also be available to you whilst you live in College.

Colleges are a big part of life here at Durham and offer a lot of support to all students. Usually, you will be given a ‘College Tutor’ and this is a person who you can go to if you would like advice and support. Your tutor will often have several people who they look out for and your ‘tutor group’ may consist of several students. Groups are very informal and can be an excellent way to meet new people.

Financial Support

We understand that coming to university can be a big financial commitment and at Durham we have a range of different support available for you should you need it. Durham offer several forms of financial support that you may be eligible for in addition to statutory support (government loans and grants).

  • Information relating scholarships can be found here.
  • Information about 'Hardship Funds' can be found here.

Why not head to our financial support information page for more information about how we can help you whilst at Durham.

The Student Finance website also provides a wealth of information about funding your time at university which you may find useful.

Counselling Service

The Counselling Service offers a high standard of service in counselling for those who are finding that their difficulties are hard to manage and/or are affecting their studies/work. The Counselling Service is here to enable you to become more effective in your lives and overcome barriers to achieving your full potential. You may feel anxious about approaching the Service and talking about your concerns. This is normal. Whatever your problem you will be very welcome and treated with respect. For further information about counselling support at Durham please see the Counselling Service webpage.

The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre

The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre is a free service that is offered to Durham Students. The Centre can offer a wide range of support to help you both in the short and long term. If you want support finding employment whilst you study you can take advantage of the vacancy advertising service and this can be complemented by support with your long term prospects, such as CV workshops, employer master classes and mock interviews. Go to their webpage to find further information about how they can support you.

The Student Employability Fund aims to support students to develop the skills, attributes and experiences that will help them to progress into their chosen destination.The fund is able to provide a contribution toward the cost of travel and/or clothing and/or subsistence for current, registered undergraduate and postgraduate students attending external recruitment activities and employability development experiences. Please see here for further details on eligibility and the application process.

Disability Support Service

If you have any queries regarding disability, specific learning differences (SpLDs), mental health problems, medical conditions or any other issues, and you are a prospective student or a current student we actively encourage you to contact our specialist team. Our friendly advisers are willing to discuss, in confidence, any concerns you may have. For further information, please see the Disability Support Service webpage.


Nightline is an anonymous, non-directive and non-judgmental support service set up and run by students for students. You can contact Nightline any day of the week during term time from 9pm to 7am by phone email or instant messenger. The contact number is on DUO and on the back of your student campus card.


Durham University Day Nursery is a diverse community open to all, including University staff and students, and members of the public. Our nursery staff are caring, highly experienced, and fully qualified professionals who work in partnership with parents to provide a safe and stimulating environment for babies aged from three months old to school age children. The nursery also has excellent special needs facilities.

What support is available?

Individual advice and support

If you would like support during your application, have a query or would like to clarify anything, you can get in touch with Jordan Donohue:

She can signpost you to support available such as personal statement advice, finance support and deadline dates.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if we can be of support.

Access Programmes

The University runs two access programmes for Year 12 students with the potential to study at a University like Durham and who will benefit from additional help and support to reach their full potential:

Supported Progression

Supported Progression is a scheme for talented students studying in the North East, Cumbria, Yorkshire and London who have the potential to study at a university like Durham and who will benefit from additional help and support to reach their full potential. Supported Progression offers a two-year coherent, structured programme of events and guidance. This includes the opportunity to take part in our spring and summer residential events, experiencing life as a Durham University student. To find out more about the Supported Progression Programme, please see their webpage.

Sutton Trust Summer School

Durham University's Sutton Trust Summer School is designed to give bright students from non-privileged homes the opportunity to experience what it is like to be a student at a leading university. The residential summer school is a fantastic opportunity to find out more about applying to university, to meet some of our current students and work with our academic departments. This programme is available for gifted and talented Year 12 students from UK state-maintained schools. Sutton Trust Summer Schools are free of charge! Not only is you place free, but we will also pay for your transport to and from the summer school. There really is no cost to attend!

If you would like more information about the Sutton Trust Summer School please head over to the Durham University Sutton Trust Summer School webpage. To find out more about the Sutton Trust directly, please click here.

Those who successfully complete the assessed summer school project for either the Supported Progression or Sutton Trust summer school will be recognised as having achieved a qualification equivalent to 16-32 UCAS tariff points that can contribute towards meeting the entry requirements for a programme of study at Durham University, along with a guaranteed offer..

Open Days

Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.

Post-application open days are held in February and March for applicants who have been offered a place to study at Durham University. Post-application Open Days are different to those offered at the pre-application stage. They offer an interactive study and social experience to provide a realistic insight into student life and to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to make the most of your future with us as a Durham University student.

Discover Durham Tours

Discover Durham Tours are led by our current students and are an excellent way to get an insight into Durham in one day.

They provide an introduction to the Durham student experience and a brief overview of University facilities. You can find more information and book a place on our dedicated visit us webpages.

If you have any questions, concerns or would like any information clarifying please contact Jordan Donohue by emailing or calling 0191 334 9374. If Jordan cannot directly answer your questions she will be able to signpost you to the most relevant contact.

Contact Details

Durham University,
DH1 3LE,
Telephone: +44 (0)191 334 2000