Open University

As the first of its kind in the UK, the OU Fund will provide the equivalent of 50 undergraduate and postgraduate full fee-waiver scholarships a year to unpaid carers who so often miss out on higher education.

Our commitment to the Fund will be of £39,996, spread across two years. This grant will fund the bursaries of 12 young carer students in the programme (6 each year), the value of £3,333, which will support 60 credits of undergraduate study and help with other expenses, such as laptops, wi-fi, travel and study support.

The first group of 50 scholarship recipients began studying with the OU in October 2020, with at least 15 of these places ‘ring-fenced’ for young carers aged 18-25. The OU’s unique model of blended online learning ensures that students can study flexibly in their own time and at their own pace so they can continue their caring commitments. Not only will this empower students to retrain and pursue career opportunities, they will have the chance to develop their sense of identity outside of their caring responsibilities.

Currently there are 8.8 million carers in the UK. 375,000 of those are young adult carers, 600,000 are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, 58% are women and over 20% live in poverty. Young adult carers (aged 18-25) have lower GCSE attainment and are twice as likely as their peers to be NEET (not in employment, education or training) for six months or more. Our hope is that this scholarship will demonstrate that the provision of flexible, multifaceted support learning is a key driver in helping unpaid young adult carers begin and continue their studies and improve their prospects for paid employment in the future.

“The long-term educational and employment opportunities of young carers are scandalous. This is especially heart-breaking when these individuals have put aside their own interests in order to care for their loved ones. The Open University’s ground-breaking scheme to support young carers into higher education is fantastic and we are thrilled to be supporting them through this new partnership.”
Jonathan Freeman, CEO of the CareTech Foundation
“It is an honour that two of the top corporates in the care sector are supporting the OU’s Carers Scholarships Fund. Having CareTech and Hallmark Care Homes Foundation join this community of supporters, brings not just vital funding but also invaluable expertise into the mix and we look forward to building on this relationship in the coming years. This donation is truly wonderful and shows their commitment to the caring sector.”
Jhumar Johnson, Director of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office at The Open University