Students to fork out €6,000 for housing as rents spiral
Capital worst affected - while the national average will hit €3,200 for academic year
Spiralling rents will push up the cost of going to college for tens of thousands of students in the autumn.
Dublin will be worst affected as rents in the capital return to boom-time levels.
Students can expect to pay an average of €6,000 to live in purpose-built accommodation in the city for the academic year.
Rents are lower in the private rented market, with students in Dublin expected to pay an average of €4,500 for the year, although the cost may not include extras such as wifi.
Prices are also significantly up in the outlying university town of Maynooth, where rents have increased by up to 20pc over the past two years.
While housing in Cork, Galway and Limerick is significantly cheaper, student representatives there believe they are particularly affected by shortages.
The national average cost for accommodation for the upcoming academic year is about €3,200.
About half of third-level students live away from home and the message to them is not to panic - but not to delay the search for accommodation.
Brian Gormley, manager with Campus Life, the support service for students in Dublin Institute of Technology, which carries out an annual survey on student living costs, has a handle on the market in Dublin and nationally. He expects the national average for student rents in 2016/17 will be about €3,200.
He said DIT had block-booked 700 bed spaces for students in purpose-built accommodation and most of that was still available. Students book and pay a deposit, which would be refunded if they didn't take a place in DIT.
According to Mr Gormley the cost of purpose-built accommodation in Dublin was averaging €6,000 for a 40-week academic year. He said while it was at the upper end of the market, parents felt more comfortable having their children live in purpose built student accommodation.
The rising cost of accommodation alone will mean that State grants - paid in varying amounts to almost half of third-level students - will not go anywhere near to covering their outgoings.
The maximum grant for students living more than 45km from college is €5,915 - paid to the most financially hard-pressed families - but the most common payment is €3,025.
Many other families don't qualify for grants, and may only narrowly miss the eligibility criteria, and would be put to the pin of their collar to support a child attending college away from home.
There is heavy demand for on-campus accommodation in universities. In recent years, and in light of the growing housing issues in the capital, University College Dublin has been increasing the number of on-campus beds reserved for first years. This year, 908 of 2,810 spaces in its student residences are reserved for 'freshers', which the college believes will cater for demand.
Phelim Kelly, president of NUI Galway Students' Union, said there was already an acute lack of accommodation advertised for students, with three months to go until classes begin.
"All of the student accommodation was booked up around February for the next academic year," he said. "We have 2,500 beds in purpose-built student accommodation, and that's all gone already."
Kevin Donoghue, president of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), also encouraged students and prospective renters to start looking for accommodation now.
"Even though you would think it's early days, you should still be keeping an eye out now. People should be putting out the feelers now to see what's out there," he said. He added that the USI was open to "any solution" to the housing crisis, including modular homes or "non-traditional housing models".