Carers Trust is launching a campaign today to urge UCAS to change the application process to allow better identification and support for unpaid carers entering university or college.

The campaign is in support of a petition started by Carol Hayward, a student at Edinburgh University, who cares for her mum (pictured).

Research by Carers Trust found that half of young adult carers in college or university were struggling because of their caring role. Young adult carers are also four times more likely to drop out of college or university than students without caring roles.

The charity believes that changing the UCAS form so that it provides university applicants with the chance to self-identify their caring role is one of the most effective changes that would improve identification of young adult carers and students carers.

Carol, who is studying Physics at the University of Edinburgh, said:

"I was frustrated by the lack of support in my hometown, and hoped that when I moved to university there would be help available. Unfortunately when I arrived in Edinburgh I was again disappointed, until I discovered that a friend had founded Edinburgh University Young Adult Carers (EUYAC).

“With the help of EUYAC, I decided that one way we could make a difference was to start a petition targeting UCAS. I'm looking forward to working with Carers Trust to see how things progress from here."

Paul Traynor, Young Adult Carer Policy & Campaigns Officer for Carers Trust Scotland, said:

“Student carers are often struggling in silence and lack of awareness and support from universities and colleges can have a long-lasting impact on their life chances.

“UCAS can make this change happen by adding a tick-box to their application form that students complete online. Carers Trust have been requesting this change for the past two years but UCAS have still not actioned this. We hope that widespread support for Carol’s petition will encourage UCAS to reconsider their stance.”

Sign the petition.