Monday 23 September 2019

At least they have not hit us with student loans this time

Your Budget - Student

Trinity College mature student Maia Mathieu. Photo: Seamus Farrelly
Trinity College mature student Maia Mathieu. Photo: Seamus Farrelly Newsdesk

Trinity College mature student Maia Mathieu makes a three-hour round trip to class because she can't afford the spiralling rents in Dublin rents.

Mrs Mathieu (34) said: "They've done nothing to help students but at least they haven't hurt us with student loans."

Living so far out of the city isn't conducive to study, Mrs Mathieu said. Husband Alden (32) is also a Trinity student, stuck on the same lengthy commute from Oldcastle, Co Meath.

"I'm going into second year, studying economics and social studies, with a focus on social policy and economics, and Alden is studying mathematics," Mrs Mathieu said. "We're trying to make a better life for ourselves but the conditions for students are ridiculously hard, we can't afford to live in Dublin, to be near college.

"We aren't eligible for a maintenance grant and we rely on a social protection Back To Education Allowance of €160 a week," she said. The couple pay €35 a week on rent in total and then €65 each per week on bus fares to and from Dublin.

"We get the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and we feel lucky we're able to get that, but we had to move a long way from Dublin to get it."

The couple were also disappointed to see that there will be no cuts in public transport costs, a move which they say would have relieved some financial pressure.

But Mrs Mathieu said the Budget contained no bombshells.

"We are just going to try squeeze what we can and get through the next few years.

"I was long-term unemployed before taking up this degree."

Irish Independent

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