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Monday 27 May 2019

Parents turning to loans to fund their children's education

Parents expect to shell out €71 a year for uniforms. Stock Image
Parents expect to shell out €71 a year for uniforms. Stock Image
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

The number of parents taking on debt to fund their children's education has doubled.

Grinds and extra-curricular activities have emerged as the biggest expenses for parents paying for their children's primary and secondary education, according to a survey commissioned by investment company Zurich Life.

Parents estimated it will cost them close to €600 to put a child through primary school this year.

For those attending secondary level, the expected expenditure is set to be double that amount.

The sheer expense of sending a child off to school is set to prompt many parents to borrow money.

Some one-in-five parents of primary school children will fall into debt to fund all the costs.

When it comes to secondary level, the research indicated a third of parents will fall into debt to get their child educated. Many are taking out loans, with others going into overdraft.

The survey, conducted by iReach Insights market research, found there has been a doubling of parents taking out loans, with around 17pc borrowing money at primary level.

The number of parents taking out loans to cover the cost of secondary school has also gone up, with almost one-in-three families now relying on loans to help finance their children's education.

The costs are high. Parents of primary school children expect to shell out €88 for books and €71 on uniforms. Footwear will cost €64 this year, with €52 for school supplies.

The highest spend during the primary school year was extra-curricular activities, which cost on average €191 per child a year.

The highest spend items during the secondary school year are on grinds at €279, followed by lunches at €177.

In total, parents estimate that it costs €584 a year to send a child to primary school, and €1,236 a year for secondary school.

Zurich Life executive Jonathan Daly said early and consistent saving is the best way to prepare for covering your child's education costs.

He said opening a savings account when children are under a year old will allow you to prioritise education costs before they become a significant financial burden.

Meanwhile, a new Economic and Social Research Institute study highlights the importance of providing longer-term targeted supports for people with lower levels of education, lack of self-confidence and living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

The study, part of an on-going research programme, found the most vulnerable participants on the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2015-2017, funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and administered by Pobal, required prolonged and intensive supports in order to tackle the level of poverty and social exclusion they face.

Irish Independent

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