Research shows young adult carers struggling to cope in higher education

Research by Carers Trust and The University of Nottingham reveals that young adult carers often struggle at college and university because of their caring role.

Issues with lateness or absence arise as a result of having to balance their caring responsibilities with studying, which means that over half of them experience difficulties and as many as 16% feel they might have to drop out – more than twice the national dropout rate.

Many young adult carers remain unnoticed. Although more than three quarters of those surveyed had explained their caring role to their college or university, nearly half (45%) of them said that despite this there was still no one there that helped them.

Previous research by Carers Trust and Nottingham University has shown that of those who have been to college or university, 29% of young carers have dropped out because of their caring role – four times the national average. Almost half who had left full time education were unemployed.

Dr Moira Fraser, Director of Policy and Research at Carers Trust, said: “Young adult carers, who do so much for other people, should be able to get the best possible education, but caring responsibilities are having a negative impact on the education of half of the carers in this sample. Student carers need the flexibility and support to ensure they can succeed and fulfil their potential.”

Kelley Temple, NUS Women’s Officer, said: “NUS welcomes this report and its recommendation that colleges and universities should do more to make support and services available to young adult carers and ensure they are identified early.

“Student carers – the majority of who are women – are an invisible group in many universities and colleges. Despite the valuable service they provide to society, their support needs are often misunderstood or ignored by their education providers.

The research is the third of a series of reports released as part of the Time to be Heard campaign.

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