If you’re a student with caring or parenting responsibilities, it’s important to let your chosen university or college know about your circumstances, otherwise they won't be able to put the necessary support in place for you. If you're not sure where to start, get in touch with their student support team, who will be able to point you in the right direction and give you more information about the help available.
If you have children or adult dependants, you may be eligible for extra financial help. Learn more in this video from Student Finance England.
Students with parenting responsibilities
More information and advice for students with parenting responsibilities can be found on the charity Brightside's website, at studentparents.org.
Young adult carers
Higher education can give young adult carers the independence and skills they need for their chosen career.
There are approximately 375,000 young adult carers (aged 14 to 25) in the UK, all facing different challenges and responsibilities. If you're under the age of 19 and provide regular care and support to a family member, partner, or friend, you may be eligible to access additional support while studying. Below are just two of the many charities providing support, information, and advice to young adult carers.
- The Carers Trust offers support to those who care, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled, or has mental health or addiction problems – you can find out more at carers.org.
- If someone in your family has a life-threatening illness, Hope Support Services can help. Visit their website for more information or watch their video. You might also be interested in watching Ben’s story.
Personal statement advice
As part of your uni application, you’ll need to write a personal statement. UCAS spokesperson, James Durant, has this advice:
Your background as a carer will have given you skills and experiences that can set you apart from other candidates. Writing about your personal journey, and linking it to the subject you want to study will strengthen your application and make it stand out.
Fran is studying at the University of Winchester and has hopes of doing a master’s. She has been caring for her brother who has autism since she was 11. Fran wants universities to make sure that anyone who does care for someone is recognised from the start.
“In terms of increasing support at university, it is to make sure that anyone who does care for someone is recognised from the start so the university can make sure that they are not alone and know that if they want and need help there is always someone there! Starting university, I did not disclose that I cared for someone on my university application as I thought it was not needed and to be honest did not want to use it as an excuse. However, since telling someone at university the support that I have gained has helped so much. I wished I had said something at the beginning and do recommend disclosing this on the application as you never know the help or opportunities you can get by doing this.”