With applications for The Open University’s Carers Scholarships Fund due to close on Friday, don’t miss your chance to apply for the scheme before it’s too late.
Now with the option to defer your studies until September 2021, there are 50 full scholarships available, with 15 reserved for young carers between 18–25. Whether for personal satisfaction or for your career, studying should still be an option as a carer. With specialist support and flexibility that fits around your responsibilities, the OU opens the door to higher education.
Danielle and Linda are both OU alumni, having studied whilst caring for loved ones.
Caring full-time for her grandfather with Parkinson’s disease, 26-year-old Danielle was convinced that she’d never achieve her dream of getting a degree. However, after taking the plunge with a short history course, she was hooked on OU life and began studying for a joint humanities degree in philosophy and history, graduating at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester in 2017.
Starting studying at age 19, initially Danielle didn’t advise her tutors that she was a full-time carer despite the challenges she faced:
“Being a carer means that sometimes your family commitments have to take priority over your studies. This resulted in assignments being written the day before a deadline, studying during the night and having to leave exams early. Being a carer did initially make me struggle with time management. However, studying with the OU really helped me finally learn how to manage my time effectively.
“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. He explained that I could always contact him if I needed extensions and extra support. Unfortunately, I only got the courage to ask for support in my final course, however I am eternally grateful that I did. I think the OU is wonderful at providing support for students who have other responsibilities.”
A few years on and Danielle is studying for an MA with the OU, with plans to continue onto a PhD. She’s working as a teaching assistant at a local secondary school and works closely with young carers, providing invaluable advice from her time looking her grandfather.
“I started The Open University when I was 19 years old. Over the past ten years, I’ve completed five qualifications and am close to finishing my MA. Completing a degree with The Open University whilst being a carer has opened doors that I didn’t even know existed. I had dreams of completing a MA, becoming a teacher – dreams that are becoming a reality.”
Read Danielle’s full story here.
As Linda crossed the stage at the Barbican degree ceremony, her feeling of pride was not just for her own achievement, but for her Dad as well, who had sadly died in 2010. John Carter was one of The Open University’s pioneer students, taking up study back in 1971 at the age of 47 after switching his career from the building trade to teaching. He became an inspiring and successful teacher, implementing a new economics curriculum at his school thanks to his OU study.
“With the OU I wanted to take up a subject I really enjoyed. I would get into the office early and do some study before starting work for the day, and with it being online it was easy to fit in whenever it suited me. The OU has really developed its networking and with tutorials, forums and tutor phone calls, I found the experience very positive.
For me the OU was the antidote to stress in my daily life. We moved to the Lyme Regis area and I became carer to my husband who is disabled. My mother is now in a care home too, so I found the OU study a great release, helping me get another perspective on things.”
Read Linda’s full story here.
Find out more
The OU’s Carers Scholarships Fund is now open for applications until 31 July 2020. We will provide 50 UK-based carers with funding so they can pursue higher education. Given the current circumstances we are flexing our study start dates so if applicants are successful, we can hold their place until the next academic year in September 2021. The OU’s unique flexibility means carers can study around their caring responsibilities and receive tailored advice and support.
To apply, please visit: http://www.open.ac.uk/courses/fees-and-funding/carers-scholarship-fund