Two qualitative research projects examined the impact of university study on two cohorts of mature-age students at a regional university in Australia. All the students interviewed had entered university via non-traditional pathways and had faced significant hurdles in gaining university entrance and continuing with their studies. The influence of gender on their experiences of managing home, family and work responsibilities in combination with their responsibilities as students is examined. Issues such as lack of time and money, self-sacrifice and guilt emerged strongly from the stories of these students as they struggled to manage their multiple responsibilities. The gendered nature of these struggles is explored.