Students with caring responsibilities are included in the National Strategy for Access and Student Success in Higher Education [https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/299689/bis-14-516-national-strategy-for-access-and-student-success.pdf, in relation to making more flexible and accessible provision for learners from under-represented groups.
While there are no exact figures on the number of young adult carers in the UK, the 2011 Census figures from England and Wales, from Scotland and from Northern Ireland show there are more than 375,000 known young adult carers in the UK aged 14–25, who are providing support and assistance to their families and friends.
Student carers had experienced varying degrees of support from their institutions, but in all cases there was a lack of coordinated, systematic support. [https://www.nus.org.uk/Global/... ]
Research has found that young adult carers were four times more likely to drop out of college or university than students who were not young adult carers. [https://carers.org/sites/files/carerstrust/time_to_be_heard_report_final.pdf]
The challenges of remaining at university are seen in the findings from a study of student carers carried out by the NUS which revealed that only 36% of student carers felt able to balance their commitments (such as work, study and family/relationships), as compared with 53% of students who did not have caring responsibilities (NUS, 2013) .
From 2018 UCAS will be providing the opportunity for students to identify themselves as carers on the UCAS Apply form. [https://carers.org/news-item/ucas-form-identify-student-carers]
The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) recognise carers as an OFFA-countable target group and encourages universities to consider the services they provide to support carers and how these might align with or be strengthened through Access Agreements. [https://www.offa.org.uk/universities-and-colleges/guidance/target-groups/]