Housing: Not much left in the pot once rent paid
A search for accommodation using the grant provided by Student Universal Support Ireland (Susi) has shown a student could be left with less than enough to pay the rent.
Higher Education Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor, who is a TD for the Dún Laoghaire constituency, said on Tuesday that students could make use of a Susi grant to help cover accommodation costs.
However, a monthly breakdown of how much a student could receive from Susi has shown they will face a big struggle to find somewhere. As outlined on the Susi website, if a student comes from a household that made a reckonable income of under €24,000 over the previous year, and if the student has to travel more than 45km from home to college, they could be granted the special rate of €5,915, the maximum amount available.
The maintenance grant will be paid in nine instalments, meaning each month the student will receive €657.22 directly into their bank account. Per week, this amounts to €164.30.
Based on this budget, a search for an affordable room in Minister Mitchell O'Connor's constituency on property site Daft.ie showed just one result - a single bedroom in an owner-occupied shared home in Dún Laoghaire for €90 per week. A double bedroom is also on offer in the same house for €110 per week.
The property overview says four people are living in the home; the owners and their two adult sons. The male-only let is available from Sunday evening to Friday.
Cereals, toast, milk, coffee and tea are provided for breakfast, but no evening meal is provided.
The property is served by Dublin Bus, including the 46A, which will transport the student to University College Dublin, and the 75 route which goes to Dundrum and Tallaght. Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology is a five-minute walk, while the Dún Laoghaire College of Further Education is a 20-minute walk. If the student will need to make use of public transport, it is likely they will pay the €30 cap per week for the Student Leap Card.
Provided the student opts for the €90 single bedroom, after paying rent and transport costs they are left with €44.30. Given the student cannot stay during weekends, the remaining cost may go towards a bus or train home.
With these kind of accommodation costs, expenses lik food, clothes and transport would be unaffordable under the grant.