HELP is being offered to Oxford students who have no family or friends to turn to when they arrive at university.

More than 9,000 university students in the UK have no contact with their family, and study without support networks in place for if problems arise .

Stand Alone Pledge is a scheme created to recognise the needs of these pupils and offer them support they might not receive from the usual channels.

A study conducted by the non-profit organisation found that 41 per cent of estranged students considered withdrawing or suspending their pursuit of a degree, with 14 per cent actually doing so - three times higher than the average for students who are still in contact with their families.

Oxford Brookes University has now joined the Stand Alone pledge, and estranged students enrolling from September 2019 will receive a £2,000 bursary for each year of study. They will also receive support from Student Finance England and will be eligible to apply for guaranteed 52-week accommodation at the university’s halls of residence.

Professor Anne-Marie Kilday, Pro Vice-Chancellor said: “Oxford Brookes is proud to have committed to the Stand Alone pledge. Staff from our academic and student affairs team have led on a tremendous amount of work over the last year to further enhance the support available to our estranged students.

“Through our commitments for estranged students as part of the Stand Alone Pledge and the work we’re doing to support care leavers, we are committed to ensuring that students can achieve their academic potential regardless of family background or circumstance.”

Susan Mueller, project director at Stand Alone, added: “We are very pleased that Oxford Brookes University recognises the barriers that students who are estranged from family may face in accessing higher education. We hope more students will feel confident in coming forward to access the help and support available to them.”

Oxford Brookes’ commitment to the Stand Alone Pledge comes just after the university announced its support for care leavers.

It is taking part in a pilot scheme after figures revealed only 12 per cent of care leavers go into higher education, and their drop out rate is twice as high as their peers.