Caring for someone else can make juggling work and studying difficult

Group of students in a row

Young carers can receive extra support at university, but you need to identify yourself as a young carer first. You can contact the student support, welfare or finance team and ask their advice about how to do this.

You may be entitled to grants and bursaries to support you while studying. Young carers are entitled to the 16-19 bursary if you are in education for fewer than 21 hours a week, and your college or university may have additional grants to support young carers. It is important that your university or college do not automatically state that you are in full time education rather than the specific number of contact hours you have. For example, you may be on a full-time course but only in class for 20 hours a week. If this is the case, you may be entitled to a grant or bursary despite your course technically being full-time. Speak to the student finance team and your university or college for advice.

There are two types of 16-19 Bursary – the Vulnerable Student Bursary and the Discretionary Bursary. You need to apply directly to your college or training provider for either the Vulnerable Student Bursary or Discretionary Bursary.

The 16-19 Bursary is not available to students at university, but your university may have other bursaries or scholarships available. Contact your student finance office for more information about available support and how to apply.

Vulnerable Student Bursary

You could be eligible for up to £1,200 if are in receipt of Universal Credit or Income Support. You may also be entitled to apply for the bursary if you receive Disability Living Allowance and either Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit, or Personal Independent Payments and either ESA or Universal Credit. The amount of money you receive depends on how long your course is, how many hours a week you are in education and the cost of expenses for your course.

Discretionary Bursary

Each college or training provider has their own criteria for the Discretionary Bursary . Speak to the finance office for more information. You may be able to apply if you are aged over 19 but continuing on a course you started while aged 16-19.

Applying to university or college

Caring responsibilities can provide you with lots of transferable skills to outline in your personal statement, such as time-keeping, organisational skills and managing a heavy workload. For more information about applying to university or college, including how to write a personal statement, see the UCAS  website. 

Your rights at work

Everyone has statutory rights that are protected by law. These include basic sick pay; shared parental, maternity and paternity pay after adopting or giving birth to a baby; time off for emergencies; protection against unfair dismissal, and the right to request flexible working. To qualify for some of these rights you may need to have worked for your employer for a set amount of time. This should be outlined in your contract. In addition to these statutory rights you may also have more generous allowances set out in your contract. For example, your employer may grant longer periods of sick pay, maternity or paternity leave than the basic legal amount. It is important to keep a copy of your contract so you can refer to it when needed.

For more information about your statutory rights as a carer, see Carers UK.  

Flexi-working

Flexible working is when an employee works shifts according to their needs. This might mean starting work later, leaving earlier, or working from home on occasion. All employees have the right to request flexible working, whether they have caring responsibilities or not. The company is required by law to consider your request if you have been employed with them for over 26 weeks. If you have not been employed at the company for that long you can submit a non-statutory request, which your employer can choose to consider or not. Employers must consider your application for flexible working, but they can refuse the request if they have a good business reason for doing so. For more information about employment rights for carers, see the Carers UK website.

For more information about flexible working, how to submit a request, and what to do if your request is refused, see the Citizens Advice website. 

Transition assessments

If you are under the age of 18 you are entitled to a transitions assessment. The aim of this assessment is to help you with your future once you turn 18. In the assessment, you can talk about your future work or education, and what support you may need to get there. You can request a transitions assessment at any age, and the ideal age for the assessment is unique to the young person. For more information about assessments for young carers see the Benefits and Assessments section.

Find out more about young carer transition assessments.

Having a goal to work towards can help you work out what financial help you may need to get there. Download our Aspirations Ladder to help you map out your 'steps to success'.