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.
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.
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:
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
Most students in Scotland study for free with a Part-time Fee Grant. We also offer help with study-related costs specifically for student carers, such as a Carers’ Bursary and the Digital Inclusion Fund.
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.
Alternatively, you can update it yourself in your Profile in StudentHome by following these steps:
You can update your carer status at any time if your caring role changes.
The 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.