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Carers

Thinking about studying with us? On this webpage you can discover more about the support available for carers. 

Already registered for OU study? As well as information on this page, our Help Centre has details on how to access support for carers

Support for carers Stat graphic - 860 OU students in Scotland are also carers

Juggling study alongside caring responsibilities can be challenging as well as rewarding.

At The Open University in Scotland we recognise the challenges that carers can face and the ongoing or unexpected circumstances you may have to deal with.

Telling us about your caring role means that we can make you aware of additional support available to you.

Types of support we offer

Who is a carer? 

We use the Carers Trust definition of a carer:

Anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.

If this definition applies to you and you haven't already declared your carer status to us, we encourage you to do so because we can offer extra support if you need it. 

We understand that as a carer, circumstances can change suddenly or unexpectedly so you may need additional support to help you get through difficult periods and continue with your study.

Support can include:

  • study support sessions with your tutor
  • extensions to assignment deadlines
  • taking your exam at home
  • recordings of online tutorials to listen to when convenient for you
  • alternative learning experiences to residential schools
  • careers and employability webinar Managing your career alongside caring.
  • mental health support from Togetherall
  • taking a break from your studies
  • peer support from the OU Student Association

Our Student Carers Policy outlines the support that the University can provide for students who have caring roles.
 

When I started my degree, I didn’t realise how much support was available for student carers at the OU. When I finally did tell one of my tutors that I was a carer, I was amazed at how much support I was given.

Danielle, student carer


Financial support

Most students in Scotland fund their studies with the Part-time Fee Grant. We also offer bursaries for carers and discretionary funding to help with study-related costs. 
 

Telling us about your carer role

When you registered to become an OU student you may have been asked to provide some basic information about your needs and circumstances.

If at the time you didn't recognise yourself as a carer, decided not to disclose your carer status to us, or your circumstances have changed, you can contact your Student Support Team (SST) to update your record.

Three smiling peopleAlternatively, you can update it yourself in your Profile in StudentHome by following these steps:

  1.  Sign into StudentHome
  2. Click on 'Update personal details' in the Profile box in the left-hand column
  3. Click on 'Edit details' and choose 'Yes' from the drop-down list under Caring responsibilities

You can update your carer status at any time if your caring role changes.


Going Higher for Student Carers

A Going Higher for Student Carers Recognition Award trophy graphicThe Open University received the Going Higher for Student Carers Recognition Award from Carers Trust Scotland in 2020. The Going Higher project encourages carers to access higher education. 

We work in partnership with carers’ organisations to better understand the needs of carers and ensure that resources to fully support carer students are developed. 

Carer Aware at University is a free online module for staff at all universities in Scotland, developed with Carers Trust Scotland to help improve support for student carers. 

Online resources