Students at breaking point- USI calls for protection of student supports in October’s Budget
DIT Campus Life’s annual Cost of living Guide suggests increase in average cost of living for students to nearly €8,000
Joe O’Connor, President of the Union of Students in Ireland said:
“The annual survey on the cost of living for students conducted by DIT Campus Life and covered in today’s Irish Independent, confirms something which Students’ Union officers beginning their terms of office right across the country today are acutely aware of.
Costs of living are increasing, student supports have reduced significantly as a result of recent grant cuts and other measures, securing part-time employment is more difficult than ever, and the wider impact of austerity and the economic downturn has taken its toll on families.
This has created the perfect storm in which students are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the financial burden associated with surviving in college.
We would call on Minister Quinn and the Government to take this into account in ensuring that no further reductions to the current levels of the student maintenance grant rates or thresholds are imposed in the upcoming Budget, and existing student support levels are maintained in full.
A recent survey is also referenced in today’s article whereby 60% of Irish students report being stressed by their financial situation.
This financial strain does not alone have an impact on creating barriers to accessing and remaining in third-level education.
It also impacts on the mental health and academic output of students, and increases pressures on families already struggling with recessionary times but determined to keep their sons and daughters in third-level education.
The Union of Students in Ireland, in partnership with Amárach Research, will be carrying out a survey of third-level students throughout the summer months, collecting data on the financial situation of students and their families at present and how this is impacting on their mental health.
It is clear that the cashflow difficulties and financial difficulties facing the students of today have reached breaking point for many, and my USI Officerboard team for 2013/14 will be relentless in seeking to ensure no further hardship is enforced on those most vulnerable”.
For more information contact USI General Manager, Ben Archibald on 01-9052091 or email firstname.lastname@example.org