Studying while caring

iStock 1158012576

Published Jun 06 2023

Many students also find themselves becoming a carer for someone, which can be hard to juggle. 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.

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:

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 through the Young Carers Network. The Young Carer Bursary Program supports young carers to continue with their education. The program offers 1592 bursaries of $3768 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.

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.

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.