Campaigners win petition for ‘student carer’ status on uni application forms

Carers' Corner

Author: Almaz OhenePublished: 9 November 2016

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Campaigners win petition for ‘student carer’ tick box on uni application forms

Young carers who are planning to go to university will soon be able to officially identify their status on new application forms

A new tick box identifying young adult carers on university application forms is to be introduced in the UK, which will give educational institutions the chance to support student carers during their period of study.

The decision comes after a successful petition, organised by student carer Carol Hayward, 21, who assumed there would be a support network in place to help people in her situation when she first arrived at university as a 19-year-old.

When she discovered the lack of support for carers like herself, she started campaigning for the option to formally identify carers on application forms, so that universities are made aware of applicants who would be caring for someone, unpaid, alongside their studies.

Carol said: “I was shocked and disheartened to find that although the Universities and Colleges Application Service (UCAS) offers support for people who have been in care, and the Student Loans Company offers extra financial support for those who have financial dependants, there is no support mentioned for those who are carers and UCAS makes no effort to identify this group who need their support.”

There are at least 376,000 young adult carers in the UK, according to a report by UK-based charity Carers Trust. Half of young adult carers report that they are struggling with their studies because of their caring role, with 16% saying they may drop out of education due to their circumstances.

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.”

From 2018 any student applying to a UK institution will be able to tick a box to identify themselves as a ‘student carer’.

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