Student Carers

A student carer is someone who, at any point in their studies at the University, provides care for a family member or friend who would not be able to manage without that support. 

The Carers (Scotland) Act (2016) defines a carer as “an individual who provides or intends to provide care for another individual.” 

Many people do not recognise themselves as carers. But even if you aren’t related, live with the person, carry out a large amount of care on a regular basis or be the sole carer, your caring responsibilities are recognised by QMU.  

Getting In

We wanted to reassure you that getting a place at university may not be as daunting as you might think. QMU provides additional support to applicants who are also carers. This includes minimum entry requirements and a guaranteed offer* to the course you have applied for.

To make this process easy for you when you are applying for a place at QMU, you will be asked to tick a box to indicate your caring responsibilities on your UCAS form. This information is held confidentially but will allow you to access the resources available to you within the university. This includes pre-entry guidance, financial support and information about the QMCares community.

Caring Responsibilities can include:

  • Practical tasks –like cooking, housework and shopping
  • Physical support –like helping someone with their movement or exercise
  • Personal care –like washing, dressing and helping with toileting needs
  • Organisational tasks -like handling the household budget and collecting benefits and prescriptions
  • Administering Medication
  • Providing emotional and wellbeing support
  • Advocating on behalf of someone you care for

These tasks can be on a daily, weekly, monthly or on an ad hoc basis.

*We will try, wherever possible, to guarantee you a place on the specific course you have applied to, but this will not be possible in every circumstance.

It might not be possible to offer you a place on your chosen course if, for example:

  • It is a course with lots of applicants and not many places
  • Places are strictly limited by the Scottish Government (e.g. Education Studies (Primary), Nursing, Paramedic Science).

In some subject areas minimum entry requirements also include successful performance at interview or audition, or a successful portfolio assessment. Where entry to a course is determined largely by interview, audition, portfolio assessment or similar, we will guarantee your progression to that stage of the application process.

Your performance at this stage will determine whether you are offered a place.

Student Finance

Dependants' Grant 

If the person you care for is also financially dependent on you, you may be eligible to apply to SAAS for the Dependants’ Grant. You do not need to pay this back.  They pay this grant on top of the normal-support package of fees, loan and bursary. 

Further Information is available from SAAS here.  

The Scottish NUS have also compiled this guide to student finance in Scotland here.    

Young Carer Grant  

A yearly payment of £326.65 for young carers in Scotland aged 16, 17 or 18 years old. You can get a Young Carer Grant once a year, up until you turn 19. You must also have been caring for 1, 2 or 3 people for an average of 16 hours a week for at least the last 3 months. 

Further information is available from here.  

QMU Discretionary Fund  

If you are finding it difficult to meet your living costs then you may be able to access some money to help you in the short term. The University manages a government-provided Discretionary Fund, introduced to help students whose initial or continuing access to education may be placed in jeopardy due to financial difficulties.  

You can find out more about financial assistance at QMU here.  

Wall of Wonder & FAQs

Have you ever wondered:                             

If you are eligible for financial support? 

  • You can find out more about financial support from SAAS if you are a Scottish home student.
  • You can find out more about financial support from The Student Loans Company if you are a non Scottish UK home student.

If there are other people out there like you? 

External Support

Who else can you get support from externally? 

Carer Centres can offer practical support, advice and care information for you in your local area – either by phone, online drop-in or outreach surgeries. 

East Lothian: 




West Lothian: 

What other Support Organisations are out there? 

There are many other organisations that offer advice and support if you're a carer or a person using self-directed care. 

  • Carers Scotland - 0808 808 7777
    • Gives expert advice, information and support to carers. 
  • Carers Trust Scotland
    • Aims to improve support, services and recognition for anyone caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend. 
  • Coalition of Carers in Scotland
    • Ensures that carers' voices are heard at local and national level. 
    • Supports Black and Minority Ethnic carers to access support and services suitable for their personal situations. 
  • Young Scot
    • Offers lots of information for young carers, including how to apply for the Young Carers Package, a range of leisure and learning opportunities for young carers. 
  • Age Scotland - 0800 12 44 222
    • Provides information, friendship and advice and a confidential freephone for older people, their carers and families in Scotland. 
  • Shared Care Scotland - 0138 362 2462
    • Works to improve the quality and provision of short breaks for carers in Scotland. 
  • Take a Break
    • Family Fund's Take a Break Fund supports families and carers of disabled children and young people to take a short break. 

Who is here to support you at university? 

QMCares has a dedicated staff member – Gayle Green available for group drop in sessions and individual appointments. She is someone who you can talk things over with and provide informal advice and guidance as well as signposting to other relevant services.  

Every student is assigned a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) who will help guide you through your studies. Your PAT will normally be your main source of advice and guidance relating to your academic studies.  

How best to look after yourself?

Caring for someone can take its toll on your physical and mental health. The National Wellbeing Hub offers wide range of support and wellbeing resources available in Scotland. It includes a specific section for unpaid carers. 

Breathing Space is a confidential phone line (run by NHS 24) for anyone in Scotland over the age of 16, feeling low, anxious or depressed. 

All unpaid carers in Scotland are eligible for a free flu jab. Find further information on NHS inform. 

Carers Scotland's self-advocacy toolkit has information and techniques to help carers who want to speak – or advocate – for themselves. 

The Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance offers independent advocacy support to any vulnerable person in Scotland. Call 0131 556 6443. 

Going Higher for Student Carers: Our Recognition Award 

QMU is a recipient of The Going Higher for Student Carers: Recognition Award, which aims to make it easier for Scotland’s 19 universities, to identify, support and report on student carers, and recognise good practice.  

To have achieved the award QMU has demonstrated that: 

Student carers are being proactively identified from matriculation to graduation, and awareness is being raised throughout the university all year round. 

Student carers are being supported to give them a fair chance to be successful in their studies and maintain positive health and wellbeing. 

Student carer progressions are showcased, and evaluation tools are used to celebrate achievements and make improvements so that appropriate support is delivered. 

More information about the Going Higher for Student Carers Award can be found here.

  • Student carer Policy 

QMU has a policy on supporting student carers (2019). It was formulated in recognition of the obstacles student carers face in accessing and pursuing degree level study and offers guidance to prospective and current students and staff on the processes and practices in place at QMU to support student carers throughout their learning journey at QMU. 

You can read the full policy here.  

QM Cares Named Contact

Please contact Gayle Green, Widening Participation Officer (Support Coordinator), if you would like to find out more about how we can support you at QMU.

Show Contacts

QM Cares Named Contact

Gayle Green 0131 474 0000