Further increases in the costs of third-level would be ludicrous in light of ILCU survey, says the Union of Students in Ireland
New research commissioned by the Irish League of Credit Unions suggests that the cost of college bills will continue to increase past the €1,000 mark for the upcoming academic year.
The study also shows that one in 12 students will drop out of college this year due to financial stress, with students working on average 18 and a half hours per week to pay their way through college.
Further findings show 57% of students expect to have to emigrate when they leave college, and 71% of parents told researchers that their family budgets would be adversely affected by the increase in the Student Contribution Charge.
Joe O’Connor, President of the Union of Students in Ireland said:
“The startling findings in this report further illuminate the financial strain which Higher Education measures in recent years have caused to students and families across the country.
Students are being forced to work lengthy hours in low-paid part-time jobs to get themselves through college, in many cases with a negative effect on their study time and academic output.
The crisis in youth mental health issues in this country is being accentuated by the financial burden which many vulnerable students are having to bear in their pursuit of a college degree.
The average student maintenance grant, at €84 per week, does not even cover rental costs alone according to the figures published in this study, and does not compare favourably to the lowest rate of Jobseekers’ Allowance in this country, at €100 per week.
But this is about more than vulnerable students. Parents and families up and down the country, determined to see their sons and daughters through third-level education as they see the value that it brings, are clearly making enormous sacrifices in order to bring this about.
The increasing borrowing of these parents highlighted in the survey continues a worrying trend whereby the most vulnerable families are trapped in a spiral of more and more debt.
Any further increases in the costs of college through increased student charges or reductions in the maintenance grant will merely serve to further attack struggling families already crippled by wider recessionary measures.
We would call on the Government and Minister Quinn to have the costs of college at the forefront of their minds when making upcoming Budgetary choices- Third level is at breaking point and neither parents nor students can take any more.”
For more information contact USI President, Joe O’Connor on 087-2191862, or USI General Manager, Ben Archibald on 01-9052091, or email firstname.lastname@example.org