University can be a tough time for students who also have caring responsibilities at home. Juggling the commitments of study with those responsibilities can often make student carers feel like they are being pulled in two ways. UHI is committed to providing a safe and supportive learning environment for our students with unpaid caring responsibilities, to ensure a positive experience whilst you successfully complete your course.

If you let us know you are a carer we can offer assistance to support you through your time at university.  This includes providing guidance, emotional support, and a range of other things in between.

Collage of 3 | Going Higher in Scotland Recognition Award Achieved logo | Woman smiling | Bow Fiddle Rock, Moray



Who are Carers?

Carers Trust Scotland define a carer as ‘anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.’ UHI has adopted the Carers Trust Scotland definition.

Support at UHI content

Support at UHI

Support at UHI

Academic and study skills

Many students struggle with the academic demands which entering higher education can bring; in particular the increase in essay writing skills whereby you have to analyse text, discuss, and evaluate can be challenging for new students to grasp. 

  • Your programme team along with your Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) will be able to provide guidance on any issues you may be having.
  • In addition, you may find it useful to access the Essential Student Skills online resource.

Careers and employability advice

The Career and employability centre is on-hand to help all students with planning their career. This includes suggesting options for after your course and assistance to help you find work.

Financial support

The UHI Discretionary and Childcare Fund is there to assist students experiencing financial hardship whether it is struggling to pay rent and bills or help with buying books for study.

Student mentors

The Student Mentor Network brings together more experienced students with those new to higher education (or postgraduate study) to share their knowledge and experience. The network provides training and a structure for more experienced students to help those new to the university.

The mentor–mentee relationship is an informal one with meetings often taking place in cafes and other off-campus spaces. There is also the option to meet online or by email with your mentor if they are based in a different area.

Wellbeing and emotional support

Students can often experience stress or find things are getting on top of them. If this is the case, whichever UHI location you are based at will have access to a counselling service or someone to talk to.

We also have a wide range of mental health support.

Your Personal Academic Tutor (PAT)

Every university student will be allocated a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) whose responsibility it is to provide academic support.

They are a point of contact for you to approach should you find you are struggling with your studies or if you need to be referred to specialist services but aren’t sure where to go.

If you are a PGR (Postgraduate Research) student you will not have a PAT but will instead have a Director of Studies and/or a Third Party Advisor who provide similar academic support. If you have any queries about this, please contact the Graduate School

External support content

External support

External support


Organisations in Scotland can receive a Carer Positive award, which shows a commitment to support employees who are carers. You can find a list of those employers who have received the award on the Carer Positive website.

Hope Support Services

Hope Support Services, a UK charity supporting young people when a loved when is seriously ill, have created a guide for university students which has been written by young people.

SAAS and student finance

If you receive your funding from SAAS, you may also be eligible for Living Costs Grants which include the Dependant's Grant, an income assessed bursary awarded to those with a husband, wife, partner, civil partner, or another adult who you act as a carer for. Full details including eligibility and how to apply.

Young Carers Grant

There is also the Young Carers Grant, a yearly cash payment of £300 for 16-18 year olds which carers can spend as they choose. You can claim if you are in further education and may be eligible if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • you live in Scotland
  • you are 16, 17 or 18 years of age when applying
  • caring for an average of 16 hours per week, over a 13 week period
  • care for someone normally paid a qualifying disability benefit
  • you have not applied for or receive Carer’s Allowance
  • you are not paid or volunteer to care

Find out more on the Government website.

Useful links content

Useful links

Useful links

Going Higher for Student Carers

  • In June 2020, we were delighted to achieve the Going Higher for Student Carers recognition award, a scheme which aims to make it easier for higher education institutions to support student carers and encourages universities to adopt sustainable approaches to identifying and supporting student carers

UHI's privacy notice

  • Please read our privacy notice for further information on how your data will be handled by the university