Significant Increase in Third Level Students Skipping Lectures in Favour of Work

By Seamus Whelehan

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The CAO results, released last Thursday, now makes the opportunity to attend University or College a reality for most.
Several Colleges and Universities charge a student contribution fee for entry into a College course.
This year each student is expected to pay a registration fee of €3,000. However, students in receipt of a Student Grant will have this paid by SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland).
But what costs are associated, outside of these registration fees?
A survey carried out on behalf of the League of Credit Unions of Ireland has found students planning on living away from home can expect to pay almost €10,000 a year, while those staying at home will pay significantly less, €6,500.
The survey of 445 students by Ireach Insight between the 25 April and 2 May says 74% of students have to take up a part time job to offset College fees, while 55% skip lectures to work.
The figure is a significant increase on 22% in 2017.
Of the 74% of working students, seven in ten are working part-time, 14% work full-time and 15% work ad-hoc hours. On average, students are working almost 15 hours a week (14.8 hours) and earning just over €10 an hour (€10.14).
Nearly a quarter of students (24%) say finance/debt is their biggest College-related worry, while almost three quarters (74%) say they have to work during the College term to cope with costs.
The survey asked questions regarding living costs including food, travel, internet, mobile bills and study material, and found that half of the parents surveyed cut spending on clothing and other goods, with one third sacrificing spending on staple foods and groceries. Students are also sacrificing spending on important items as they struggle with costs. A quarter say they’ll slash spending on medical or dental check-ups.
The majority of students (42%) rely on parents and family to fund their third level education, 29% rely on the Government Grant and 13% on paid employment. Just 6% can fund their education from their savings.
Over half of students say they receive a monthly allowance from their parents or family to help cover costs which they incur. On average, they receive €202 per month. Almost half, however, (45%) say this is insufficient to cover their costs. Of those saying it’s not enough, a quarter say they would never ask for more money (26%) whilst 19% say they constantly have to ask for more money.
Once College life is completed the greatest worry is that they won't find a job.
According to John Fenton (Manager of Midleton Credit Union), students completing a College course can avail of a special education loan rate of 7.5%, two percentage points less than the standard rate of 9.5%.
The Course can be full time, part time or post graduate. The repayments are scheduled to suit the student means.
“The loans can be for fees, accommodation, computer purchase or other educational purposes. Loans can also be given to bridge the gap which a student may face before their Grant is issued.”
“Proof that the member has been accepted for a course is required. In cases the loan may be guaranteed by a parent or guardian. We ask the member to complete a budget to work out how much they expect to spend on a weekly basis, and the loan is based on this" commented the Manager.

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