Students with caring responsibilities

Student Parents

We know that coming to university can be particularly difficult or challenging if you’re a parent of a child under 16. Along with the University of Exeter, we are here to provide you with the necessary support to ensure you time as a student is as smooth as possible. From helping you with your finances, childcare and accommodation, we are here for you.

Financial support

If you are classed as a Home/UK student you’re eligible to apply for student finance. For more information, visit our finance information.  

In addition, you may also be eligible for funding towards childcare costs.

Parents learning allowance

Studying as a parent can have additional costs and the governments Parents Learning allowance will allow an additional amount between £50 and £1,821 a year in the form of a grant that does not have to be paid back.

How much you get will depend upon your household income and you must be an undergraduate student. 

It’s usually paid in 3 instalments direct to your bank account, one at the start of each term.

Parents learning allowance For more information on how to apply.

Child care grants

To help with the cost of child care students entering higher education in 2021/22 could get 85% of your childcare costs or a fixed maximum amount, whichever is less.

The maximum you can get is:

  • up to £179.62 a week for 1 child
  • up to £307.95 a week for 2 or more children

The amount you could get will depend upon your household income and the number of children that you have.

Childcare grants

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help you with your living costs. You usually can’t get Universal Credit if you’re a full-time student, however there are some exceptions:

-You’re aged 21 or under, in full-time non-advanced education and don’t have parental support. This includes if you’ve left care provided by the local council or you’re without parent support.

-You’re responsible for a child. The child may be adopted or a foster child.

-You live with your partner and they’re eligible for Universal Credit.

If you’re a part-time student, you may be able to access Universal Credit, but you’ll need to meet other eligibility conditions, like being available to work.

To see if you meet the criteria and for more information on how to apply, visit Universal credits and students.

Where can I get childcare?

The University of Exeter has a family centre for staff and students that provides excellent early-years childcare. Find out more information about Owletts what they can offer and how to apply. 

Devon County Council also have a fantastic website that can help you navigate trying to fund and find childcare to suit your needs. Depending on where you live, it will give you access to a list of nurseries and childminders, and schools that offer breakfast clubs and after-school provision.

To find out more, visit Family information directory.


Is there accommodation support available to me?

The University offers accommodation for family and couples; a family is defined as adult(s) with child/children under the age of 16.

Please note, there are limited family and couple’s accommodation in self-catered residences so places cannot be guaranteed.

For more information about available options, please visit family and couples accommodation.

I’m an international student, what support is available to me?

The University of Exeter provides support for international students who are planning to bring their families to the UK while they are studying.

They also offer a range of free English language classes for spouses of international students. For more information, visit New students with families.

I still have more questions, where can I get more support?

If you still have any more concerns, please get in touch with our Advice team at or go to our Drop in pages for drop-in session times.

You can visit our housing advice page here to get more information about searching for accomodation, finding flatmates, managing paperwork, moving in, and much more.

Student Carers

Coming to university whilst being a carer can make completing your studies and engaging in university life very challenging. Often it involves juggling studies alongside travelling home and additional caring responsibilities. However, the Advice team are here to offer a range of support, information and advice to help you manage it all—throughout your time at Exeter, you’re not alone.

Do I qualify?

A carer is someone who provides unpaid care to a partner, child or relative with a physical or mental illness, disability or addiction. This can sometimes mean providing help and support to siblings, other family members or friends.

If you’re a student carer, we would like to see some documentation that confirms your carer status. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on and we will confirm which documentation we will accept, as this will vary with each caring responsibility.

Financial support

If you are a full-time student with children or adult dependants, you may qualify for extra financial support. 

Carers Bursary

Undergraduate carers are able to apply for a Carers bursary. This bursary is not fixed and will be dependent on your situation; we deal with financial requests on a case-by-case basis, so please contact the Advice team if you need support. In every case, we will aim to help in the best way we can.

Dependants grants

If you’re a full-time student in higher education and an adult depends on you financially, you can apply to student finance for an Adult Dependants’ Grant of up to:

  • £3,190 for the 2021 to 2022 academic year
  • £3,094 for the 2020 to 2021 academic year

This would be on top of student finance maintenance loan and tuition fee loan.

Dependants grant

Other support

Carers coffee mornings

These run throughout term and give you an opportunity to talk with others in a similar situation and gain support from each other. We will be in contact but keen an eye on our ‘what’s on’ section and social media posts for more information.

Parents’ and Carers’ Network

The University of Exeter runs a Parents’ and Carers’ Network which is an informal support system for all staff and postgraduate students. If you would like to get involved, visit Parents and carers network.

Mitigating Circumstances

If you feel like a personal circumstance may affect your ability to complete an assessment, you could be able to apply for an extension or deferral through the University’s ‘Mitigation Process’. For more information about this process and how to apply, visit Applying for mitigation.

Are there any external services available to me?

Yes have a look at Carers UK and Bright futures Devon for more information about how they can help.

Carers UK

Carers UK provides expert advice, information and support to make sure that no matter how complicated your query or your experience, you don’t have to care alone. They also offer benefit checks and advice on financial and practical matters related to caring.

If you would like to find out more and get in touch with the organisation, visit Carers UK.

Carers Week

National Carers week

Bright Futures Devon

Bright Futures offers support to Young Adult Carers (aged 18-24) and their families to get the support, skills, confidence, and help you need to manage periods of transition and change in order to build your resilience and improve future life chances.

For more information, visit Bright Futures

What additional support is available to me?

The University of Exeter’s advisors can help you develop personal learning strategies and discuss specific questions relating to your work. For students studying on the Exeter campuses, you will be eligible for a package of 3 one-to-one appointments. For more information, visit  academic skills.

You can also seek help with your studies from the Study Zone Study Zone

I still have more questions, where can I get more support?

If you still have any more concerns, please get in touch with our Advice team at or go to our Drop in pages for drop-in session times.


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