Friday 24 February 2017

'It’s becoming increasingly hard for college students to survive' - Senator slams latest food bank figures

Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Newly appointed senator Lynn Ruane
Newly appointed senator Lynn Ruane

Senator Lynn Ruane said it is 'disgraceful' that over a half of students miss meals to stay in college.

The former Trinity SU President said that a new survey conducted by the USI shows how much third-level students are struggling to get an education.

“In this day and age students should be supported to gain an education and not struggling to afford basic needs,” Ruane told Independent.ie.

Over 870 students took part in the survey that showed that one in four students went to their Students’ Unions, St. Vincent de Paul or a food bank for food.

“We had to buy in boxes of noodles for students who were struggling,” said Ruane, recalling her time as Trinity SU President.

“Maintenance isn’t covering students’ costs. Everything is at a high cost from fees to accommodation to travel. It’s becoming increasingly hard for students to survive.”

The survey also showed that 77pc of students surveyed borrowed money from friends and family.

Over 30pc went without heat with almost 8pc going without electricity altogether.

The USI has criticised recent suggestions to increase the registration fee by more than €1,000.

USI President, Kevin Donoghue said increasing the fee beyond €4000 is “ludicrous”.

“Our research shows that more than half of students miss meals - they’re literally going hungry - so an increase of €1,000 annually will only worsen the situation.

"Any government that proposes raising costs in an area already crippled by cuts and high expenses is deluded and out of touch with the public,” said Donoghue.

“This suggested increase will deter young people from applying to college, which is already unaffordable for so many.”

Over 40pc of students said they relied on the grant to pay for college, 27pc received money from parents with almost 7pc using student loans.

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