Support for carers

At the University of York we are committed to supporting students with caring responsibilities. 

A student carer is a student who cares for a family member or friend while they are studying. The person they are caring for may need support due to an illness, disability, mental health condition or an addiction.

The caring role may be a short term commitment, for instance looking after someone following an accident. Or it could be a long term responsibility, for instance if the person being cared for has depression. 

If you answer yes to any of the questions below you may be a carer:

  • Do you constantly worry about a family member or relative?
  • Do you provide emotional support on the phone? 
  • Do you travel home at weekends to help look after someone? 

Juggling caring responsibilities with studying can be challenging and is likely to put additional pressure on you. Caring responsibilites may have an impact on your financial situation, your own physical and mental health, your academic attainment (you may find yourself missing classes and deadlines), your relationships and your aspirations for the future. 

The informaton on the tabs below details the support we offer to carers studying at York, how to access this and who to contact at the University if you are a student with caring responsibilities.

If you are a prospective student please visit the following pages for information on the pre-entry support we offer to applicants with caring responsibilities:

Emotional support

When you are studying at the University there are plenty of people you can approach for some advice or a chat, including your college team, your academic supervisorYUSU and colleagues in the Student Hub. The University also has a dedicated contact for students with caring responsibilities who you can contact at anytime. 

The University works very closely with York Carers Centre. Jess from York Carers Centre attends the monthly Carers' Café held on campus. 

Carers' Café

In the 2017/18 academic year we will continue to hold a Carers' Café in the first week of every month. We will vary the day and time of the Café so that the same students aren't restricted from attending because of timetable commitments. If you've not come along before look for the Student Support Hub leaflets on the table and that's us (Nicola from the Student Hub and Jess from York Carers Centre). 

Details of the Carers Café dates for the Summer term will be confirmed in March. 

By coming along to the Carers' Café  you'll be able to chat informally about your University experience and discuss ways of managing your caring responsibilities alongside study commitments. You'll also receive a free refreshment voucher which can be used in the venue on that day. 

We'd love to hear from you about any thoughts you have on the new Carers Café. When would you like it to be held? Would you like there to be an activity or for the Café to be purely about social time? Please get in touch with Nicola Browne, the Student Support Co-ordinator by emailing or telephoning 01904 324140. 

Online chat

From 5 - 6pm every Tuesday (during term time) there is an online drop-in for students with caring responsiblities. This is an opportunity to chat online to an adviser about your caring role and access advice about managing your university commitments alongside this. 

Just visit the Student Hub webpage between 5-6pm on a Tuesday to access the live chat. 


Financial support

If you are struggling financially as a result of your caring commitments you can apply to the University of York Hardship Fund and, as a carer, you will be priortised for an award. We can also offer you general financial advice to help you manage your budget while you're a student.

To claim Carers Allowance you must be studying for less than 21 hours a week and so full time students can NOT claim this. 

All students are encouraged to have a Carers Assessment and following this may be able to access some additional financial support. 

We can also offer carers advice relating to eligibilty for benefits and tax credits.

Study skills support

The Academic Support Office can help you develop your academic skills and also help you manage your time more effectively. Some of the workshops offered by the Academic Support Office are online so it may be possible to fit them in around your study and caring commitments. We can also help you liaise with your academic department if your caring role is impacting on your academic work.

Sometimes things happen that can seriously impair your performance in an assessment or prevent you undertaking the assessment at the scheduled time. If these events are unforeseeable and exceptional (i.e. serious and unusual) you may be able to defer an assessment or take it again. It is very important that you note the deadlines for submitting a claim. Refer to our guidance on exceptional circumstances.


If you are a carer who is studying at the University and would like to speak to someone, you can contact Nicola Browne, the Student Support Co-ordinator by emailing or telephoning 01904 324140. Prospective students with caring commitments are also welcome to get in touch.

Useful links

Hope Support offers online support for students with a close family member who has a serious illness. Amongst other things, they can offer advice on leaving home, living away, dealing with responsibilities, home visits and staying positive. Hope also offer fortnightly chat sessions for university students through their online service. This can be a good way to meet other students who are experiencing similar emotions to yourself. 

Which? Elderly care offers independent and practical advice for people who are caring for elderly parents or other relatives.