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Parents take out loans to foot €10k-a-year bills

THE cost of going to college now stands at just under €10,000 a year, with parents taking out loans to fund their children's education.

A study by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) has found that nine out of 10 parents support their child through third level, contributing, on average, €410 a month.

Most parents use part of their monthly income, savings or credit union loans to cover this cost. But one in 10 are taking out costly bank loans, or using credit cards.

On top of the increased student services charge of €2,000, students spend an average of €400 on rent and household bills and €484 on living expenses each month. Based on the nine-month academic year, this takes the annual cost of college to €9,956.

Food is the most expensive monthly living expense at €148 on average, although male students spend just €128.

Male students also spend €102 a month socialising, compared to just €81 spent by their female classmates

Students pay €82 a month on travel to and from college and around €40 on mobile phone costs and €65 on books and materials. Female students spend €65 each month on clothes, while the boys spend just €50.

"The increase in registration fees this year will put phenomenal pressure on both parents and students starting or returning to third-level education," Kieron Brennan, chief executive of ILCU, said.

"The fees, combined with monthly rent and bills, books and materials and day-to-day expenses are a significant financial burden to many families," he added.


Almost three-quarters of students surveyed said they were mainly relying on their parents for financial support.

Just over half had part-time jobs during term-time and a third of them admitted they skipped lectures to work.

Students worked on average for just over 14 hours a week and were paid €10 an hour. The survey of 1,000 students also found 75pc believe they may have to emigrate to find work after graduating.

Half of those surveyed said they had chosen their college course based on the best chance of getting a job after graduation, rather than because they were interested in the subject.

The Union of Student in Ireland has urged students to apply as early as possible for the maintenance grant following long delays in issuing cheques last year.