Student carers will be given the option to identify themselves on their university application forms.

Young carers in a lecture at Scotland Summit 2015

Since 2014 Carers Trust has been asking for a tick box which would prompt young adult carers to identify themselves. 

In February, student carer Carol Hayward, 21, started a campaign calling for this change to the UCAS form so that universities could easily find out whether applicants would be studying as well as caring unpaid, for someone with an illness, disability, mental health problem or an addiction.

Carers Trust backed the campaign and in just six weeks more than 2,500 signatures poured in to show their support.

UCAS has now confirmed that from 2018 there will be a specific option on its Application form.

Huge difference to lives of student carers

Gail Scott-Spicer, CEO of Carers Trust, said:

"This campaign has been for a small change, but one that will make a huge difference to the lives of student carers across the UK, as long as universities across the country now commit to using the information they will be given in order to provide the support that student carers need and deserve."

Carol, added:

"I know from first-hand experience how difficult it is being a student but also a carer. I am really thrilled today to have learnt that UCAS will be improving their form for carers at the earliest possible date."

Carers Trust research has recently highlighted the facts about student carers in the UK, which include that:

  • Half of young adult carers in college or university are struggling because of their caring role.
  • Young adult carers are four times more likely to have dropped out of college or universities than students without caring roles.
  • 14% of young carers in school said they would not go to college or university because of their caring role.
  • 24% of young adult carers in school said they could not afford to go to college or university, while 41% are unsure.

Apply form redeveloped for 2018 re-launch

Carers Trust CEO, Gail Scott-Spicer, says of today's success:

"All educational establishments should take steps to identify and support students who are also in a caring role at home as we know this can greatly impact on concentration and attendance."

Ben Jordan, a senior policy executive at UCAS, explained:

"We're working to allow applicants to disclose whether they are a carer or have care responsibilities as part of UCAS Apply.

Our ambition is that this option is built into our new Apply form, which is being significantly redeveloped for re-launch in September 2018.

"Each year, 700,000 people are placed in higher education via UCAS. These students come from a diverse range of backgrounds and circumstances, some of which can be challenging, particularly if you are a carer."