Topic briefing


Published 27 July 2020

The issue

The transition to, through and beyond university can be extremely challenging for young people with caring responsibilities.

Caring responsibilities may prevent many young people from entering further and higher education.

For those who do progress to further and higher education, there are often struggles and hardships ahead.

Key facts

The Carers Trust's good practice resources highlights the following barriers to accessing and succeeding in higher education faced by young adult carers:

  1. There is no national data on the number of carers in higher education as not all disclose their caring responsibilities and their carer status can change.
  2. Young adult carers are often a hidden population and so can be harder to reach and encourage into higher education.
  3. Young adult carers may feel less able to access higher education due to their caring responsibilities at home and may require more support when they do engage.
  4. Issues with lateness or absence, balancing caring responsibilities alongside academic commitments and a high prevalence of self-reported mental health problems are some of the difficulties that many young carers face in higher education.


The Carers Trust defines young adult carers as:

‘young people aged 14-25 who care, unpaid, for a friend or family member who could not cope without their support’.
Published 27 July 2020

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