Union of Students Ireland Press Release

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is warning TDs that every young person on the dole costs the State twice as much as a student on the grant.

At a pre-budget briefing in Dublin today, USI President Joe O’Connor will show TDs that a cut to the student maintenance grant is not just unfair, but also counter-productive and expensive.

The average grant payment is €84 per week, far lower than the €188 threshold of decency paid to social welfare recipients. The average grant recipient costs the state €3,276 per year.  A young person (under-25) on an already reduced dole will receive an average of €7,320 in Social Welfare payments.

According to a recent study by the Irish League of Credit Unions, 84% of families are already struggling to meet the rising costs of third level education. Any further cut will push these families over the edge. If only 1 in every 100 students is forced to drop out, the social welfare bill will cost €6 million more than the grant would.

USI President Joe O’Connor said:

Cutting the Student Maintenance Grant might save a couple of million from the Education Budget, but would cost the Department of Social Welfare an extra €6 million.

“Our figures show that a young person on the dole costs twice as much as a student on a grant. Every young person who drops out of college and can’t find work costs the state €4,000 a year more than their student grant would.

The grant system is not perfect, but it is the main support we provide to ensure equality of access to third level – to get people into college that otherwise wouldn’t have a chance.

The Government has a choice to make. It can either cut the Student Grant, which will cost millions and hurt families in the short term, or it can protect the most vulnerable students and ensure they are supported through third-level and into employment.

Download our Pre-Budget Submission.


Note:USI held a Pre-Budget briefing for TDs on Wednesday, October 9th at 11.30am inBuswell’s Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2. USI President Joe O’Connor and a number of students who have been affected by previous grant cuts will be available for interview.

For more information contact USI Communications & Research Executive Grainne O’Reilly on 087-6776636, or 01-9052100