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Durham Commits to Stand Alone Pledge

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Durham University has joined Cambridge, Oxford, Exeter and UCL in signing up to the 'Stand Alone Pledge', thereby committing to support students who are studying without the support of their family.

Created by the charity Stand Alone, it is designed to help institutions develop four areas of support for the benefit of estranged students.

The pledge was created in response to research from the charity that found 14% of estranged students had dropped out of university, with 41% considering the same. The decision to drop out was attributed to money pressures, stress or mental health problems.

Stand Alone also found that 60% of cases had lacked social service intervention, whilst 28% of respondents did not feel comfortable in accessing support from their university.

Commenting on the pledge, Durham University said: "We believe that anyone with the ability and desire to benefit from a Durham education should be able to do so, regardless of their background, but we know that students who lack a family network or support face special challenges that most other students don't."

Amie Key, who runs the Durham Estranged Students Group added: "Last term we ran a successful campaign, facilitated by the Students' Union and Stand Alone, to raise awareness of family estrangement and encourage the University to sign the Stand Alone Pledge, so to hear that they have signed the Pledge following this is fantastic news."

"All the outlined support will especially help students outside of term-time, when Student Finance money is stretched further than it's designed to go on rent and estranged students may be left alone in Durham."

The group is planning to meet the Vice-Chancellor in the coming weeks to discuss their experiences at the University, which is commonly done by other institutions that sign the pledge.