Acquiring statutory funding to study in higher education (HE) brings complex difficulties for UK students under the age of 25 who are estranged from their family, but have not been part of the care system. This paper explores the experiences of 564 estranged students and their experiences of providing evidence of family estrangement in order to access statutory student financial support. It finds that those who disclosed their family estrangement to a professional found it easier to access statutory student finance. However, the stigma around family estrangement was a barrier to disclosure as participants felt shame and humiliation when approaching a professional to support their application. These difficulties led to substantial delays in receiving statutory finance for estranged students which subsequently had an impact on their retention and equitable student experience at the beginning of the academic year. The paper concludes with key recommendations for improvements to the process of proving family estrangement. It will question the parental ‘meanstesting’ system itself, outlining key disadvantages for students experiencing family disruption.