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Student parents and carers

Support & Advice for Student Carers

carers hands 425Who is considered a carer?

A carer is defined as anyone who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction and cannot cope without their support. The care they give is unpaid.

It’s likely that every one of us will have caring responsibilities at some time in our lives. Many carers juggle their caring responsibilities with work, study and other family commitments. Some, in particular younger carers, are often not known to be carers. Sometimes they don’t tell relatives, friends or health and care professionals about their responsibilities because of a fear of separation, guilt, pride or other reasons.

The sort of roles and responsibilities that carers provide varies widely. It can range from help with everyday tasks such as getting out of bed and personal care such as bathing, to emotional support such as helping someone cope with the symptoms of a mental illness.

Student Carers Guidance

KCLSU has created this useful guide for student carers.


Where to get support?
  • Let your personal tutor know your situation. If you do have difficulties later in the academic session with commitments outside of university, they will be aware and can help you as best they can. Tutors may be able to arrange for missed lecture notes to be forwarded to you, they may arrange a time for you discuss work you have missed with appropriate staff and they may have information on who else can help you within the university.

  • Let the Advice & Guidance Team know that you are a parent or carer by completing the online form here. This will allow us to keep you up to date with relevant events, and to inform you of useful information to help you in your studies and student life.

  • You can book an appointment to talk to someone in the Advice & Guidance Team if you need assistance or just a listening ear. We have specialist advisers who are experienced in helping students with caring responsiblities. 

  • King's operates a counselling service where you can speak to a member of the team confidentially. View their advice pages for further information.

  • The Chaplains are also available across the university for practical and spiritual support.

  • If you are also a mature student (21 or over on the first day of your studies) they you should also look at the information for Mature Students.


Funding for students with caring responsibilities

If you have a partner (including a partner of the same sex) or another adult, usually a member of your family, who depends on you financially, you may be eligible for the Adult Dependants’ Grant. How much you get depends on your income and that of your adult dependants. The grant is worth up to £2,834 a year (in 2017/18) and is paid in three instalments by the Student Loans Company.


Benefits for student carers

Some students who are carers may be able to claim additional financial support through the social security system. The criteria for who is eligible and how much support you could receive is complex so contact the Advice & Guidance Team to talk through this with a specialist adviser.

The NUS has also put together a guide about benefits for student carers.


Time out to be a carer

It is not uncommon for students to take time out to care for friends, partners or family.  If you think this applies to you then we encourage you to speak to a member of your academic school and also speak with our team in Advice and Guidance so that you are supported through this process.

We have provided information on our webpages where you can find out more about the process around interrupting, transferring and withdrawing.


Peer Support

It is important to find a support network, and one of the best places for this is with your fellow students. There are several ways you can get in touch and get to know your peers, including making sure you join any chat groups or societies within your faculty. Check out the following as well:

Family Association

The KCL Student Union operates an active Family Association which is an association set up to represent and support student parents/guardians, carers and those with caring responsibilities. Their support also extends to those who are step-parents and those with extra familial and/or caring responsibilities that may not classify themselves as carers.

They often hold inclusive, child friendly events, as well as events with more of a supportive element.

They have created this guidance for student carers.

You can follow them on facebook.

We would also invite you to join the King’s Student Parent Facebook page, this is another way of linking up with other student parent/carer’s here at KCL.

Keats discussion board

We understand that students with caring responsiblities cannot always make it into Central London for events and support groups, but still need a place to chat to other students with similar responsiblities. The support you can provide each other is invaluable, so we have created an online discussion board within Keats. Search for 'Student Services' to join the group.


The Advice and Guidance Team put on events focussed towards students with caring responsibilities to bring you together so you can get to know each other, bring your children into university so they can see where you spend your days and to give you a bit of break from your studies.


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