irishonlineradio

News, Current Affairs, Politics, Media, Sport, Entertainment and Life in General from Ireland

Going to College should not be unfairly restricted by cost and fees.

belushi

The Leaving Certificate results have now been delivered to students throughout the country and the debate over the Project Maths initiative and high failure rates in Science and traditional Western European languages has dominated the debate.  Once again the media coverage is dominated by students who have done exceptionally well, with front stories of students who have secured 6, 7, 8, and 9 A1’s.  This type of reporting, although understandable, puts huge stress and pressure on students who are in the middle, as most students in the country are, those students are nervously waiting to see if they have got enough points to get into their chosen college course when the CAO points are announced.

If students can get over this hurdle and get their desired course, the next worry for them is whether or not they will be able to afford to go to college.  Reports today that the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, will do all as best he can’, to retain maintenance payments for students at their current levels, does not inspire confidence for students or parents.  The Minister has said the budget adjustment target has yet to be decided, and the savings required from his department under the €3.1 billion savings is as yet unknown.  “We’ve started the budgetary process, but we’re waiting on September figures to give us a final indication [on] what savings we have to find,” he said.  “I want to protect as best I can the delivery of front-line services in the world of education.”  This is the same Minister who signed a pledge before the last election, promising not to increase registration fees, and then presided over further increases.  The college registration fees are set to hit €3,000 by 2015 and this is putting parents under considerable financial pressure, when a students living expenses are taken into account.

The Union of Students in Ireland is calling on the Government and the Education Minister Ruairi Quinn to ensure the maintenance grant is protected in budget 2014.  The student representative body will gather outside the Dail this afternoon (Thursday the 15th of August) to launch their pre budget “Fight For Your Future Now” campaign.  Students from across the country are expected to attend today’s event, which will see the launch of a ‘high-tech’ voter data base from September.  Joe O’Connor, is the President of the USI, said the organisation wants access to the data to contact students directly, “We want to ensure that the students who are on the votal register, that we can directly contact them and keep them informed about the campaign itself, and about the positions of the government and political parties on issues that students care about,” he said.  “Students up and down the country are sick of the measures and the way they’ve been treated over the last number of years.” (Source: BreakingNews.ie)

An Irish League of Credit Union report this week detailed that 8 in 10 Irish parents support their child with college related costs by contributing €421 per month, an increase on the €410 figure in 2011.  Monthly income continues to be the most common way in which parents fund their child’s third level education – 44% in 2013 compared to 39% in 2011. However, a further 56% (61% in 2011) are forced to locate finances from other sources. 42% state that they will have to use their savings (38% in 2011), 25% say they will use a credit union loan (11% in 2011), 6% will use a credit card (4% in 2011), 4% will use a bank loan (7% in 2011) and 2% will use a moneylender.  A typical parent who has been saving for their child’s third level education has been doing so for a total of 8 years on average.

84% of all parents struggle to cover the cost of third level education, 71% of family budgets have been adversely impacted by the increased registration fees. 8% of students will either not be able to go to college or will have to drop out as a result of the increased registration fees. 40% of third level students stated that they have received advice on payment plans by their education provider to help make payment of registration fees more manageable.

Almost half (48%) of all students have received a grant (may include small grants such as the Erasmus mobility grant). More than half of students (53%) who received a grant have experienced a delay in receiving it. As a result 32% of families with children eligible for a grant have had to sacrifice spending on essential bills, 21% had to borrow money while 11% were unable to afford to continue to send their child to college.

32% of students now live away from home during the college year (a substantial fall from 49% in 2011). A typical student currently renting accommodation pays on average €343 per month (slight increase from €330 – 2 years ago). A typical student living in rented accommodation pays €91 for household bills per month (increase from €70 in 2011.)

College students spend €516 each month on daily expenses (excluding rent and bills). This represents an increase of €32 from 2011. Food is the most expensive element with students spending €182 each month (increase of €34 from 2011) Travel is the next most expensive part of student life with students spending €99 on travel each month. Expenses associated with socialising and going out have seen a significant drop from €90 in 2011 to €67 in 2013.

All of these factors have put tremendous pressure on students and parents and these difficulties have copper fastened by the severe delays in processing maintenance grants in time last year.  After the shambolic manner in which the SUSI system was run last year, we can only hope that the same doesn’t occur again this year.  The college year for a new student is extremely stressful and a major adjustment in their lives, they shouldn’t be burdened with delays to the processing of their entitlements.

Further findings show 57% of students expect to have to emigrate when they leave college, this is a disturbing figure and one that should be of major concern to parents and the future of the general economy.  71% of parents told researchers that their family budgets would be adversely affected by the increase in the Student Contribution Charge, before any more increases in the registration fees and any possible reduction to the maintenance grant is carried out by the Government, they must take these concerns on board and the possible impact on consumer speanding and confidence in the economy.

Responding to the survey, 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.”

Details of Press Releases from the USI and Irish League of Credit Unions below:

Euro Coins and Banknotes

Published on August 13th, 2013 | by admin

0

Cost of college passes €1,000 per month: Students respond

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.”

-ENDS-

ILCU 2013 Third Level Education Survey

Media Release: 12 August 2013

8 in 10 parents support their child with college related costs, contributing €421 per month on average per child

 

42% of parents use their savings to fund third level education, 25% borrow from their local credit union

 

Those parents who use their savings to fund their child’s third level education; have been saving for 8 years on average

 

71% of parents state that family budgets have been adversely impacted by the increased registration fees

 

53% of students who have received a grant have experienced a delay in getting it in the past 12 months

 

32% of families have had to sacrifice spending on essential household bills because of delays in grants

 

Only 32% of students are living away from home as opposed to 49% in 2011

 

Excluding rent and bills students are spending €516 each month on their daily expenses – an increase from €484 in 2011

 

66% of college students now have to work to fund college, an increase from 55% in 2011

 

57% of students expect that they will have to emigrate to find work after college, drop from 75% in 2011.

The Irish League of Credit Unions has today published the results of a survey into the costs of third level education in Ireland. This is the second such study carried out by the ILCU, the first of which was carried out in 2011. In addition to looking at the issue of financing education, the study also highlights the impact of the costs of third level education on family spending and budgets as well as the challenges and concerns of both parents and students in relation to finance, grants, living away from home, job prospects and course choice.

The Results of the Survey

What the Parents Say……………

8 in 10 Irish parents support their child with college related costs by contributing €421 per month, an increase on the €410 figure in 2011. Monthly income continues to be the most common way in which parents fund their child’s third level education – 44% in 2013 compared to 39% in 2011. However, a further 56% (61% in 2011) are forced to locate finances from other sources. 42% state that they will have to use their savings (38% in 2011), 25% say they will use a credit union loan (11% in 2011), 6% will use a credit card (4% in 2011), 4% will use a bank loan (7% in 2011) and 2% will use a moneylender.

A typical parent who has been saving for their child’s third level education has been doing so for a total of 8 years on average.

2013 (left statistic) v 2011 (right statistic)

SOURCING FINANCES (2013 vs. 2011):
1. Monthly Income (44% | 39%)
2. Savings (42% | 38%)
3. Credit Union Loan (25% | 11%)
4. Credit Card (6% | 4%)
5. Bank Loan (4% | 7%)
6. Money lender (2% | n/a)
7. Other (Grant, Allowance) (12% | 1%)
Saving Duration
1. Less than 1 year (9%)
2. 1-2 years (7%)
3. 3-4 years (19%)
4. 5-6 years (12%)
5. 7-10 years (10%)
6. 10-15 years (28%)
6. 15+ years (15%)

Average = 8 years.

Registration Fees

84% of all parents struggle to cover the cost of third level education, 71% of family budgets have been adversely impacted by the increased registration fees. 8% of students will either not be able to go to college or will have to drop out as a result of the increased registration fees. 40% of third level students stated that they have received advice on payment plans by their education provider to help make payment of registration fees more manageable.

Can you cope with the costs of child’s 3rdlevel education: 2013
1. No, not at all 6%
2. No, I have saved over the years for this 10%
3. Yes, it is really hard, costs are constantly increasing 62%
4. It is a huge struggle, I hope my child will not have to drop out as a result 16%
5. Yes, I can’t afford to send my child to College 6%

Student Grants

Almost half (48%) of all students have received a grant (may include small grants such as the Erasmus mobility grant). More than half of students (53%) who received a grant have experienced a delay in receiving it. As a result 32% of families with children eligible for a grant have had to sacrifice spending on essential bills, 21% had to borrow money while 11% were unable to afford to continue to send their child to college.

Impact of Delayed Grants 2013
1. It has made things very difficult for the whole family 63%
2. Have had to sacrifice spending on domestic bills and essentials to cover costs 32%
3. Had to borrow money 21%
4. My family could not afford to continue to send child(ren) to college 11%
5. Had to use my savings 5%

Parents Greatest Worries for a College Going Child

Not being able to get a job after college continues to be the biggest worry voiced by over one third of parents of college students. Money issues are the second most pronounced worry amongst a third of all parents (increase from 25% in 2011 to 33% in 2013). Apart from securing a job after college and money issues, the rest of the concerns focus on the more social aspects of going to college – 10% say misuse of drugs and alcohol, 4% being lonely and homesick, 3% not making friends and 2% skipping lectures.

              2013 (left statistic) v 2011 (right statistic)

Greatest Worries for College Child: 2013 vs. 2011
1. Not getting a job after college 36% | 41%
2. Money issue 33% | 25%
3. Difficulty passing exams 12% | 11%
3. Misuse of alcohol / drugs 10% | 11%
4. Being homesick / lonely 4% | 7%
5. Not making friends 3% | 2%
6. Skipping lectures 2% | 2%

What the students say………………..

Funding Own College Experience

Government grants are the primary source used for funding education by 3rd level education. College students also rely on their existing savings (19%), paid employment (18%) and money from parents (18%).

Sources Used to Fund College (2013
1. Government Grant 27%
2. Existing Savings 19%
3. Paid Employment 19%
4. Money from Parents/Family/Friends 18%
5. Loan 7%
6. Bursary / Scholarship 4%
7. Other 6%

Monthly Rent of a Typical Student

32% of students now live away from home during the college year (a substantial fall from 49% in 2011). A typical student currently renting accommodation pays on average €343 per month (slight increase from €330 – 2 years ago). A typical student living in rented accommodation pays €91 for household bills per month (increase from €70 in 2011.)

Monthly Costs of a Typical Student

College students spend €516 each month on daily expenses (excluding rent and bills). This represents an increase of €32 from 2011. Food is the most expensive element with students spending €182 each month (increase of €34 from 2011) Travel is the next most expensive part of student life with students spending €99 on travel each month. Expenses associated with socialising and going out have seen a significant drop from €90 in 2011 to €67 in 2013.

Female students are spending more on food than male students, with males spending more on socialising and going out. Females are spending more on clothes per month and males are spending more on mobile phones.

2013 (left statistic) v 2011 (right statistic)

Monthly Expenses (2013 vs. 2011): All Students(Average Spend) Male Students(Average Spend) Female Students(Average Spend)
1. Food €182 | €148 €196 | €128 €177 | €163
2. Travel €99 | €82 €103 | €80 €97 | €84
3. Books & Material €82 | €65 €98 | €64 €75 | €66
4. Social Life €67 | €90 €58 | €102 €70 | €81
5. Clothing €49 | €59 €43 | €50 €52 | €65
6. Phone €37 | €40 €43 | €42 €34 | €39
Overall Spend €516 | €484 €541 | €466 €505 | €498

Working While Studying

66% of college students have to work to fund their college education. 65% of male students work and 66% of female students work. 24% work during the college year, 16% during the college break and 60% throughout the year.

Students are working an average of 18.5 hours per week. Male students are working on average 18 hours per week while female students are working on average an hour longer at 19 hours. The average hourly rate that students are paid is €10. 27% of male students who work skip lectures to do so while a lesser 17% of female students skip lectures.

Male students are earning an average €198 weekly while female students are earning €190 weekly.

Greatest worries for college students

The biggest worries that students have are passing exams (75%), not getting a job (55%) and financial debts (53%). While male students show more fear over passing exams (79%) when compared to female students (73%), female students are more concerned (58%) about not getting a job (58%) and their finances (58%) as opposed to their male classmates (50% not getting a job and 43% finances).

2013 (left statistic) v 2011(right statistic)

Greatest Worries for College Child: All Students Male Students Female Students
1. Passing Exam 75% | 68% 79% | 63% 73% | 72%
2. Not getting a job 55% | 64% 50% | 64% 58% | 64%
3. Finance & Debt 53% | 68% 43% | 68% 58% | 68%
4. Finding course too difficult 46% | 27% 57% | 26% 39% | 28%
5. Course quality or suitability 39% | 32% 43% | 42% 36% | 24%
6. Not making friends 12% | 20% 7% | 21% 15% | 20%
7. Sex, drinks or drugs 8% | n/a 7% | n/a 9% | n/a
8. Moving away from home 2% | 11% 1% | 10% 3% | 12%
9. Other (juggling with work / with raising family) 11% | n/a 14% | n/a 9% | n/a

Choosing a College Course

Interest was the primary consideration for choosing a college course with 33% stating this. 25% said location and 17% said job prospects. While only 17% chose their college course based on future job prospects, as many as 53% would now choose their college course based on the current employment gaps in the economy rather than on their interest. Males are more inclined (63%) to choose their future course based on job opportunities compared to their female counterparts (48%). University reputation (10%) and cost (6%) continue to play a role amongst Irish students when choosing a course.

Job Prospects

There has been an improvement in students’ sentiment towards job opportunities at home compared to the 2011 findings. Just over half expect to find work in Ireland. Female students show greater confidence (57%) in securing a job in Ireland  – an improvement on 2 years ago (28%)

Almost two thirds of all college students fear what they will have to take a job that they don’t like in order to pay their bills. Furthermore less than 3 in 10 students say they are looking forward to a bright future in Ireland.

2013 (left statistic) v 2011(right statistic)

Statements on Job Prospects (2013 vs. 2011) Agree ALL Agree Males Agree Females
I expect to have to emigrate to find work 57% | 75% 57% | 68% 57% | 80%
I fear I will have to take a job that I do not like in order to pay bills 66% | 68% 64% | 58% 67% | 76%
Financial worries negatively impact my overall college experience 59% | 67% 50% | 42% 64% | 72%
I expect to find work in Ireland when I finish 3rd level education 53% | 39% 50% | 53% 57% | 28%
I am looking forward to a bright future in Ireland after I finish 3rd level education 28% | 21% 38% | 26% 20% | 16%

Plans after college

Despite the ongoing challenges of the economic climate in Ireland, 6 in 10 students now plan to look for a job here, this is noticeable improvement on 45% in 2011. A further 16% plan to take a year off and only 12% intend to search for employment overseas – this is a huge drop on 32% in 2011.

2013 (left statistic) v 2011 (right statistic)  

     After College Plans (2013 vs.2011) : All Students Male Students Female Students
1. Search for employment in Ireland 57% | 45% 57% | 53% 57% | 40%
4. Take a year off 16% | 9% 21% | 10% 13% | 8%
2. Search for employment overseas 12% | 32% 14% | 21% 10% | 40%
3. Return to full/part-time education 8% | 11% 2% | 10% 13% | 12%
5. Search for internship in Ireland 7% | 2% 6% | 5% 7% | 0%
6. Go on the dole 0% | 0% 0% | 0% 0% | 0%

Mandy Johnston, Head of Communications, Irish League of Credit Unions said: “Heading off to college is an exciting time. It can also be very stressful for parents and students alike, as the cost of third level education can be a significant burden. Families are already struggling with the wider impact of austerity and the economic downturn and paying for college has become increasingly challenging for many. This round of research shows that 84% of parents struggle with the cost of third level education.

The increased registration fee alone puts huge pressure on family budgets but when you factor in all of the extras, rent, bills, food, travel etc the costs begin to spiral. Our research shows us that excluding rent and bills students are spending an average of €516 per month on day to day expenses. The study also shows that 8 in 10 students are still relying on parental support to fund third level education with parents saving for an average of 8 years to put their children through college. There has been an increase in the numbers of parents borrowing to put their children through college and credit union loans alone have seen a jump from 11% in 2011 to 25% in 2013.”

She concluded: “We want to let people know that credit unions are available to support both parents and students as they prepare for the academic year. Credit unions offer some of the most competitive personal, student and education loan rates on the market. We encourage anyone who is looking to finance their education or who simply want some advice on planning ahead or budgeting to call into their local credit union and speak to a member of staff.  We wish all students receiving their leaving certificate results this week the very best of luck.”

One comment on “Going to College should not be unfairly restricted by cost and fees.

  1. irishonlineradio
    November 1, 2013

    Reblogged this on John O'Donovan.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow my Tweets

%d bloggers like this: