Being an unpaid carer
As a carer, you may have seen impacts on your school progress, on your ability to stick to a timetable, and may even find you need to change career to find employment that works around your caring responsibilities. At the OU, we’re here to help put higher education back within your grasp with our flexible study arrangements.
What are the Carers' Scholarships?
The Open University’s Carers' Scholarship is the very first of its kind in the UK. We have already provided the equivalent of 110 full Open University scholarships to carers so that they get the chance to study, develop their sense of identity outside of caring and retrain towards seeking new employment. We aim to make a further 20 scholarships available in the 2023/2024 academic year, with six scholarships reserved for applicants aged 25 and under.
A scholarship covers OU undergraduate credit-bearing modules and qualifications, paying for the full tuition cost of your qualification, up to 120 credits each seasonal academic year and 360 credits in total.
To be eligible, you’ll need to meet all the following criteria:
- be starting OU study for the first time in the 2023/2024 academic year
- be ordinarily resident in the UK and eligible for a UK fee
- be a carer who cares for an average of 15 hours a week, or
have been a carer in the last two years, who cared for an average of 15 hours a week, but, due to bereavement, are no longer a carer
- be able to provide proof of your current, or recently ended, caring responsibilities
- have a gross household income of no more than £25,000 a year, or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit
- study a minimum of 30 credits a year.
What supporting evidence do I need?
You’ll need to provide evidence that you’ve been providing unpaid care to one or more people. This could be a letter from your current GP, social worker or carer support organisation.
You’ll also need to provide evidence of your household income or qualifying benefit.
How to apply to the Carers Scholarships Fund
We’re now accepting applications for the 2023/24 academic year. To apply, you’ll need to download the full scholarship terms and conditions as well as the scholarship application form.
When you’ve completed your application form, you can email it and your supporting evidence to our Student Fees team – their contact details are on the first page of the application form.
Applications close midnight 21 June 2023. If you’re successful, we’ll email you by 7 July 2023 to confirm. We’ll also then be in contact soon afterwards to make sure you're ready to study and to help you choose your course, so don’t worry if you’re not sure what you’d like to study.
Need more information?
Our advisers are on hand to answer any questions you might have about the Carers’ Scholarship, and to help you complete your application, if you need it. Don’t hesitate to call us on 0300 303 5303.