Studying while caring

2 minute read

Many students also care for someone and this can be hard. The time and energy that caring takes can interfere with your study. This is true for all students, whether you are a young high school student, an older university student or a returning continuing education student.

It's worth talking with your school, university or training centre about your situation, because they might be able to help.

Support while studying

If you are a student at school, university or other training centre, you may be able to get support to help you to combine studying and caring.

Getting help with studying while caring

Carers can get support from Carer Gateway. Call Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737, Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm and select option 1 to speak with your local service provider. They will register you with Carer Gateway and start the planning process. This process helps our staff learn more about you and your caring role so they can match services to your individual needs.

The Young Carers Network website has information on studying while you are caring.

As a carer you may be able to apply for the Young Carer Bursary Program. The Young Carer Bursary Program supports young carers to continue with their education. The program offers 1000 bursaries of $3000 each year to assist with education needs and resources. Young carers across Australia can apply from July until mid September.

Talking with your school, university or centre

Your school and teachers or university and tutors probably don’t know you are caring for someone. If you tell them, they might be able to help you.

Who to talk with

If you are at school, you can talk with your teacher, principal or school counsellor. If you are at university or a training centre, you can talk with your lecturer, course advisor or student counsellor.

If it helps, take someone along to support you. You could also ask a parent or friend to speak to them for you.

What to talk about

You can tell them as much or as little as you want. You don’t have to go into detail about the person you care for, or their medical condition. You could talk with them about:

  • what the problem is
  • the extra responsibilities you have in caring for someone
  • how this affects being at school or university and doing your work
  • who they can share this information with
  • who you should talk with if things change

You can also talk with them about special arrangements that might help you. For example, you can ask for:

  • permission to stay home from school or classes when you need to
  • permission to use your phone to call home
  • ways to catch up on work from home, such as catch-up lessons, take-home work, e-learning opportunities, or note-taking services
  • later deadlines for assignments
  • any other supports that might be available

Even if you don’t want special arrangements, it’s a good idea to tell them about your situation so that they understand if there is an emergency or if your caring affects your study.