The pressure of finding suitable home away from home
For many students, going to college also involves a move away from home and finding suitable accommodation is an important part of the process.
The general advice to first years who need to find somewhere to live is to stay in purpose-built accommodation, either on-campus or very close by, or to go into "digs" and live with a family, either with meals included, or on a self-catering basis.
The pressure on housing in Dublin and some other places in the current academic year, and the consequent upward drift in rents, has seen a return in popularity of "digs".
The seven universities and some other colleges offer on-campus accommodation, which has the benefit of being modern and fully-serviced.
Where on-campus accommodation is available, booking arrangements vary, so applicants should check with individual colleges.
Below is a brief guide to on-campus accommodation:
DCU: applicants can apply online (only) from February 23 at dcuaccommodation.ie. Students with minimum 570 points are guaranteed a place and everyone else goes into a lottery. Charges are not yet finalised for 2015, but as a guide, in the current academic year the cheapest room is €4,049 (two bedroomed apartment, sharing bathroom), plus €300 damage deposit and €400 for utilities such as electricity and internet. There is no upfront deposit.
NUI Galway: the most popular on-campus accommodation for first years is Corrib Village, which has seven different accommodation types. It will open for bookings in early February, but students may register an interest now, on campusliving.ie, and will be alerted when bookings open. Accommodation is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and a deposit of €250 will be payable.
Maynooth University: Bookings for on-campus accommodation will open on May 4. Typical payments and their due dates are: (single room in the River Apartments) €250 booking deposit, a further €250 by August 21, €2,280 for first semester rent by August 29 with a final payment of €2,280 by mid January 2016.
TCD: applications may only be made after a student receives an offer through the CAO. Those resident outside a reasonable commuting distance of Dublin will be invited to apply for accommodation in College Residences at Trinity Hall, Dublin 6, a few miles from the university.
UCC: will open for bookings on a date to be confirmed in March. Places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
UCD: Arrangements are being finalised and information will be updated in February/March.
UL: the online application process will open in mid-February at studentliving.ie. Places are allocated on a first-come first-served basis and a deposit of €250 is payable.
Griffith College, Dublin, which is conveniently located close to the city centre off Dublin's South Circular road makes its on-campus accommodation available to students from other third-level colleges.
Similarly, on the north side of the city, Marino Institute of Education, Griffith Avenue, also opens its accommodation to students from other colleges. The college is particularly close to DCU, St Patrick's teacher training college and is on a bus route to the city centre.
In Sligo, St Angela's college has its own student residences, also available for booking by students in IT Sligo.
Students leaving nest face €11,000 a year in costs
The following is a guide to the cost of living for a student (living away from home) in Ireland in the current academic year.
Many cost categories, such as accommodation, may be higher in 2015. The Student Contribution Charge will increase to €3,000 in September.
Monthly € Annual €
Rent (national average - Dublin)**
Monthly €307, Annual €2763
Monthly €33, Annual €297
Monthly €172, Annual €1548
Monthly €119, Annual €1071
Books and Class materials****
Monthly €74, Annual €666
Monthly €45, Annual €405
Monthly €32, Annual €288
Monthly €132, Annual €1188
Student Contribution Charge
Monthly €306, Annual €2750
Monthly €1220, Annual €10980
This table was created by Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) Campus Life offices and sources includes the Daft.ie rental report Q4, 2013, Consumer price index March 2014, HEA Eurostudent V (2013).
** the average rental figure for students in Dublin is around €372, varying widely from less than €302 per month for a shared room, up to €1,013 or more for a one bedroom unit in Dublin 2.
**** Class materials and equipment cost can vary greatly.