Student Carers



There is a range of support available to students who have unpaid caring responsibilities.


The Carers Trust defines student carers as those “who care, unpaid, for a family member or friend with an illness or disability, mental health condition or an addiction”.


Caring roles can vary significantly but will include:

  • practical tasks, such as cooking, housework and shopping
  • physical care, such as helping someone out of bed
  • personal care, such as helping someone dress
  • managing the family budget
  • managing prescriptions and medication
  • helping someone communicate
  • looking after brothers and sisters
  • providing emotional support.



Student Advice


Student Advice is a free, confidential and independent service available for students of Cardiff University. We are independent of the University and our role is to give you impartial advice and guidance and help you understand the options available to you.

If your caring responsibilities are impacting your wellbeing and/or ability to study and perform at your usual level, we can

  • advise you on how to report Extenuating Circumstances to the University. Very importantly, the University have introduced a new Extenuating Circumstances Procedure that gives student carers much better protection if they are affected by their caring responsibilities;
  • advise you on how to submit and Academic Appeal if you have missed the Extenuating Circumstances deadline, or you circumstances have been refused;
  • advise you on how to take an Interruption of Study and what you need to think about when deciding what to do;
  • advise you on how to submit a University Complaint if you feel you are being unfairly treated or discriminated against because of your caring role;
  • signpost you to other support services.



University Support


If you declare via enrolment that you are a carer, Cardiff University should contact you in the autumn term to discuss support that you can access while studying. This includes the opportunity to talk to someone in confidence about anything to do with being at university, looking after your own health and wellbeing, additional financial support and managing your studies.


Lena Smith is the dedicated contact for carers at Cardiff University and offers the following support throughout your studies:

  • Support with applying for student funding and alternative grants and bursaries
  • Support with academic-related issues, including liaising with your academic department and making students aware of how to apply for extenuating circumstances if needed.
  • Assist with any housing issues.
  • Sign posting towards other University services such as Student Disability Service, Counselling and Wellbeing or study skills.
  • Hosting events and activities and being there to talk to if needed such as the Together at Cardiff cafés.
  • Support in applying to the Financial Assistant Programme Award if you fall into financial hardship.


For more information contact

Lena Smith 

+44 (0)29 22 518 888 


Further information about the support that may be available to you through the University can be found on the Student Intranet here.



Open Days


At an Open Day, visitors will have the opportunity to talk to students and staff and visit different parts of the University. You can also find out important information about accommodation, student finance and other student support provision by talking informally to our professional staff.

When you book to attend an Open Day you will have the opportunity to disclose that you are a carer. If you do this, you will be invited to attend a breakfast drop-in session to meet key members of staff who can help you plan your day and answer any questions you have.



Financial Support from the University


The Together at Cardiff Bursary provides full time undergraduate and postgraduate young adult carers with a bursary of £1000 per year of their academic course. To be eligible, we understand that you must meet the following criteria:

  • a full time undergraduate or postgraduate taught student and
  • under 25 when you started your course and
  • be eligible for funding as a “home” student and
  • be an unpaid carer for a family member or friend with an illness or disability, mental health condition or an addiction.


To evidence this you will need to provide a letter of support on headed note paper or organisation email from one of the following:

  • a third-party professional, e.g. school, GP or medical professional
  • carers support group or support worker
  • or evidence of receipt of Carers Allowance claim prior to the course

If you have any questions about the evidence listed above, we would encourage you to contact Lena Smith (


Additionally, you may be eligible for the Cardiff University Bursary depending on your household income and when you started your course. Young carers may be eligible for this bursary as well as the Together at Cardiff Bursary. For more information on the bursaries mentioned above, please contact the Student Advice and Money Team, via Student Connect.



Work Experience and Employment


Career Confident supports eligible students of all ages and disciplines, who may not feel confident about securing work experience or employment. We are funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW). Eligibility for this programme includes students with caring responsibilities.


The team will work with students one-to-one to understand their career aims, commitments, and availability to create a tailored development plan consisting of employability support and if appropriate, bespoke work experience, or relevant training tailored to meet their needs.


Career Confident works around the student and their personal circumstances and ambitions, to build networks, experience, and their career confidence.


You can register your interest in Career Confident through your Student Futures Account, or for more information please contact Student Connect.



External support

  • UCAS recognises that student carers possess skills and personal qualities which are highly desirable in higher education and further employment. They have created this handy tool to help student carers articulate these skills in personal statements and job applications.
  • The Care Collective is a charity that provides vital services for people who help others with personal care, medical care, daily tasks or to stay safe and who are not paid for their help.
  • Carers UK are a charity who support carers and provide advice on finance, health, relationships and more.
  • The NHS website has some useful information regarding a Carer’s assessment, which includes recommendations that may help to make a carer’s life easier. They are free and anyone over 18 is eligible.


Contact Student Advice
+44 (0)2920 781410