Saturday 21 September 2019

College will cost an average of €12,171 for students living away from home as experts share tips for big savings

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

Education Editor

GOING to college will cost an average of €12,171 in the upcoming academic year, for students living away from home, but there are big savings to be made by going for the “digs” accommodation option.

Students can save up to €378 a month by living with a host family rather than in rented accommodation, according to the Technological University (TU)  Dublin annual Cost of Living guide.

The overall projected annual cost of living  is up from an average €11,829 last year, with accommodation in the main areas where prices have risen significantly.

The TU Dublin figures include the €3,000 a year student contribution charge - but not all students have to pay this - as well as other expenses such as travel, food, books and socialising.

The guide looks at accommodation costs nationally and the average rental figure for the 2019/20 year is put at  €469 – up from €430 – but, in Dublin, the average is projected to be €574, up from €541.

For students who continue to live at home whole attending college the annual cost is put at €6,771, also including the €3000 college fee.

Dr Brian Gormley, TU Dublin’s Campus Life service said that contrary to the perception that there was very little accommodation available in Irish cities, research from TU Dublin shows that there is widespread availability of host family accommodation.

He said living with a family was significantly cheaper than other options on the market and could amount to savings up to €378 per month.

Dr Gormley said host family spaces averaged €140 per week, and students, typically paid for 25 to 30 weeks, rather than the 40 week commitment with on-campus accommdation.

He also pointed out that the cost covered bill, while many host families provided optional extras, such as a light breakfast and evening meals.

“Of all the accommodation options, this is the most economical, and also offers the most flexibility. For parents, it also comes with the peace of mind that their son or daughter is living in secure housing often with a family,” he said.

Dr Gormley offered other cost-saving tips for prospective students and their families including:

* Start looking for student accommodation early, and compare prices. Availability is increasing in the student accommodation market, so look for developments opening in September 2019 who are anxious to fill their spaces.

* Check if you are entitled to tax back on fees. If you’re paying for more than one student in full-time education, you can claim tax relief on the student charge for the second or subsequent children. Also, if you are paying tuition fees, either for a post-graduate programme, a part-time programme or for repeating the year, you may be entitled to tax back.

* Child Leap Card is valid until a student turns 19, and this can reduce the weekly cost of travel by over 60 per cent.

* For some students it may be more cost-effective to commute, even long distances, than pay the high rental prices in the bigger cities.

* Check out if there are scholarships, for which you may be eligible.

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