Thursday 22 February 2018

Students go hungry to fund college

Students are skipping meals to stay in college.
Students are skipping meals to stay in college.

Six in 10 students say they skip meals to stay in college.

Research from the Union of Students in Ireland who questioned more than 870 students, found more than a third said they they go hungry to fund or stay in college.

And one third said they go without heat. A further one in four said they go to their students' union, St Vincent de Paul or a food bank for food.

The union has criticised recent suggestions to increase the registration fee by more than €1,000.

They warned that the implications of this proposed increase include plunging students further into poverty, disabling social mobility, and increasing the gap between the rich and the poor.

"Increasing the registration fee beyond €4,000 is a ludicrous proposal," said President Kevin Donoghue.

The research found 77.1pc of students borrow, or have borrowed, money off friends or family to stay in college. When asked 'what is the main way you pay for college', some 41.8pc of students said "grants", 27.2pc said '"my parents", 16pc said "my job" and and 6.5pc said "loans".

A paper prepared by officials at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for Minister Pascal Donohue said the increase of €1,000 in registration fees would be insufficient to solve the funding gap in third-level education, and an even greater increase is needed.

It would push up the fee from €3,000 to €4,000.

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