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OU Carers Scholarship Open for Applications Until End of Month

The Open University’s (OU) Carers Scholarships Fund is open for applications until the 24 June 2022. Established to help carers overcome the many hurdles that prevent them from accessing education, the scheme will support 20 carers with full tuition cost for any OU undergraduate credit-bearing course; six of the scholarships will be reserved for young carers aged 25 and under.

An estimated seven million individuals in the UK provide unpaid care for a family member or friend. Many of the tasks these carers perform are unexpected and difficult to plan around, which makes it unsurprising that carers find engaging with higher education difficult.

With specialist support and flexibility, the OU’s Carers Scholarships Fund aims to open the door to higher education, whether for personal satisfaction or for a career, studying should still be an option as a carer.

Dawn was awarded a scholarship the OU’s Carers Scholarship Fund in 2020. Dawn commented:
“Caring for a loved one means it’s very easy to stop being yourself. Thanks to this chance I feel alive, reborn, like I am back in control of my life, and I am going to succeed. I now have a chance of having a future beyond my caring role.

“This scholarship to study English Literature has given me the hope that I will one day be the wonderful English schoolteacher that I dreamt of being. As someone with dyslexia, I want to support dyslexic children to read, write and spell, to inspire young minds and to play a part in shaping the people that will decide the planet’s future.”

Mary Larkin, Professor of Care, Carers and Caring at the OU first established the scholarship fund in 2019, she added:
“The OU’s Carers scholarships provide carers with the opportunity to study for an OU undergraduate or postgraduate qualification for free in an environment which offers the flexibility and tailored wrap around support by staff, who are experienced in addressing carers needs. If you’re an unpaid carer for a friend or family member, don’t hesitate to apply now.”

To be eligible, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

• starting OU study for the first time in the 2022/2023 academic year
• ordinarily resident in the UK and eligible for a UK fee
• be a carer who cares for an average of 15 hours a week, or
have been a carer in the last two years, who cared for an average of 15 hours a week, but due to bereavement, are no longer a carer
• able to provide proof of your current, or recently ended caring responsibilities
• have a gross household income of no more than £25,000 a year, or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit
• study a minimum of 30 credits a year.

To apply, you’ll need to download the full scholarship terms and conditions as well as the scholarship application form.