Monday 23 October 2017

Parents struggling as cost of education hits €70,000

John Walshe Education Editor

THE cost of educating a child from primary school to college graduation is hitting the €70,000 mark, a new survey reveals.

It shows that the vast majority of parents are feeling the strain and that many are trying to use limited resources more effectively.

Nine-in-10 will purchase generic or non-branded back-to-school supplies this year, including pencil cases, copybooks, backpacks and lunchtime snacks.

The survey of 846 parents also shows that:

  • One-third plan to buy a larger-size school uniform for their children this year so that their children will get more use out of it.
  • 42pc will search through recycling and community websites for free and second-hand schoolbooks, schoolbags and uniforms.
  • 64pc believe their children should wear their school uniform on communion and confirmation days.
  • 97pc believe the secondary school transition year should be optional due to the additional expense the year brings.

The vast majority (97pc) believe that the curriculum should only be changed a minimum of every five years in order to help parents buying second-hand books, and in particular to assist those looking to save money by passing schoolbooks on to other siblings.

The survey was carried out by on behalf of Bank of Ireland Life during May and June.

It reveals that parents will spend, on average, €696 this month alone on back-to-school essentials.

Three-quarters of parents think school uniforms are too expensive, with 90pc advocating the idea of introducing a school crest badge which could be affixed to a standard uniform bought in a supermarket.

The total cost of primary education to a parent works out at €13,528 per child, while the five or six years of secondary schooling totals €14,112 on average.


But higher education is the most expensive, working out at an average of €41,851 per graduate.

Eoin Kennedy, head of products with Bank of Ireland Life, said the issue of reintroducing tuition fees for third-level students has had little focus recently but that it is always better to be prepared. Any policy decision could be put into effect within 12 months, leaving parents with little time to save.

Annemarie Wade of said that its second-hand books section was the busiest section on its website during the summer months.

"Thousands of second-hand books have been added to the site by parents who are taking the opportunity to raise funds through the sale of their children's old books to help fund the purchase of their books for the new school year," she added.

Irish Independent

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