Student Carers Policy

The University of Stirling has been committed to widening access for over five decades. This policy addresses the challenges that Student Carers may face in achieving their full potential and making the most of their academic studies. The policy outlines the commitment the University makes to its Student Carers and outlines the expectations of the University of those Student Carers.

Definition of a Carer

The University of Stirling has adopted the definition provided by The Carers Trust UK, a charity which works with individuals who have unpaid caring responsibilities.

 “A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem, or an addiction cannot cope without their support.”

Any enrolled University of Stirling student who meets this definition is a Student Carer.

This policy does not cover parental responsibilities unless it is for a child with a disability. It also does not cover those employed in a caring capacity.

Identification of Carers

The nature of caring responsibilities mean that anyone can become an unpaid carer at any time. The demands on a Carer can change over time by diminishing, increasing or ending. Students have the right to make their own choice as to whether or not to disclose to the University that they are a Student Carer. However, the University strongly encourages students to disclose in order that any support requirements or adjustments can be discussed at as early a stage as possible. If a student does not wish to access support or adjustments, the University will respect this decision. Students can change their mind at any time.

There are opportunities throughout a Student’s academic journey to identify as a Student Carer. These are listed below:

Application

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) are developing a question to be included on their online application the implementation date of this has yet to be confirmed.

When applying to university there are opportunities to disclose this information through the Personal Statement or Reference sections of the application. Undergraduate applicants may also be eligible for a Contextual offer.

Enrolment

When enrolling as a student at the University of Stirling, students will be asked to disclose if they are a Student Carer as part of the on-line enrolment process each year. Once a student has disclosed that they are a Carer, Student Support Services email the student to make them aware of the support available should they wish to access it.

Any other time

If at any point during your time a student becomes a carer they can advise us by emailing ask@stir.ac.uk. The University is also developing an option to self-declare through My Portal student account.

Once Student Carer status has been advised, Student Support Services will email the student email account to provide more information and options for support as outlined in section Support Available below.

Evidence of Status as a Carer

The University of Stirling accepts the following as evidence of Student Carer status:

  • A Health Care Professional confirming caring responsibilities
  • Adult Carer Support Plans
  • Young Carer Statement
  • Carers Card from a Carers Centre

Support Available

Outreach/Enquiry/Pre-application

The Student Recruitment and Widening Participation teams at the University provide a range of services including outreach activities at schools and colleges, dedicated advice and support for applicants and enquirers who are carers, and work in partnership with a range of carer organisations in order to reach as many carers interested in studying at university as possible. The Admissions and Access team are also available to answer any questions about entry requirements or the application process. Our Student Support team also welcome questions prior to application from any enquirers about their services and support available.

Once a student declares, they are a Student Carer they receive an email directed to their student email account, which gives information about support available. Each student who has disclosed that they are a Student Carer are welcome to access the range of support available from Student Support Services.

Potential Support Arrangements

It is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of potential arrangements due to the nature of the caring role and differences between courses. There may also be restrictions on flexibility due to requirements of external bodies e.g. General Teaching Council, Scottish Social Service Council, Health and Care Professions Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council or the requirements of a module e.g. group work. Some examples are included below:

Dedicated Support

Dedicated support from Student Support Services is available to Student Carers by emailing the sssSPOC@stir.ac.uk mailbox. The team will then be able to support the student, either via email, telephone or by arranging an in-person appointment. This gives Student Carers a point of contact to discuss any issues and to organise any support needed.

Changes to study arrangements including mode, suspension and resumption of studies

Where students are struggling with the time commitment of University or their caring responsibilities consideration will be given to changing the mode of study where possible, for example from full-time to part-time. Please note students on a Tier 4 Visa cannot study part-time. There are also options to suspend or resume studies through an authorised break known as a leave of absence. Please note this is not possible for all courses. There can be serious financial implications when considering these choices so any and all options should be discussed with Student Support Services or External support services e.g. your local Carers Centre.

Financial support

Student Carers may incur additional financial costs. The University acknowledges this and asks this question as part of any application for discretionary funding.

Accommodation

If a student has signed up for University accommodation and then becomes a Student Carer or if caring responsibilities increase and the student needs to relocate, flexibility can be shown to end an accommodation contract with the University.

Caring responsibilities ending

If a Student Carers caring responsibilities end we understand this can be a difficult time. Students should make an appointment with Student Support Services by emailing ask@stir.ac.uk The adviser will amend their Student Carer status and provide information and links to support available both within the University and external support services.

Expectations of Student Carers

All students are expected to adhere to the Student Charter.

In addition, whilst the University accepts self-disclosure as a method of confirming status of being a Student Carer through the application or enrolment process, the University reserves the right to ask for evidence at any time. If any applicant has falsely declared their status as a Carer, the University reserves the right to withdraw their application and/or any offer of admission. Enrolled students may be subject to investigation and action under Ordinance 2, the Code of Student Discipline (the University’s student disciplinary process).  

Student Carer Working Group

The University of Stirling Student Carer Working Group was formed at the beginning of academic year 2019/20. This group has university academic and professional services staff, representatives from the Students Union and a Student Carer from the student body. The Working Group was founded to ensure that Student Carers are identified, supported, reported on and their achievements celebrated.

The Group also seeks to increase the support available, where possible, for Student Carers and will work collaboratively with the Student Union and Student Carers at Stirling to establish areas of development.

The Student Carers Policy will be reviewed annually by this group in order to reflect any additional commitments set by the University to Student Carers in each academic year.

University Contacts

Student Recruitment: recruitment@stir.ac.uk

Widening Access: realiseyourpotential@stir.ac.uk

Admissions and Access: admissions@stir.ac.uk

Student Support Services ask@stir.ac.uk

Further Information

External Support/Organisations