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60% of Parents Get into Debt Funding Third Level Education

Results of a study conducted by the Irish League of Credit Unions, which surveyed over 1000 Irish adults through the marketing company iReach, found that over 60% of Irish parents get into debt funding third level education for their children. Of those surveyed, 70% said they really struggle to cover the cost of their child’s third level education, with 62% of family budgets being adversely affected by the registration fee for third level institutes.

USI President Annie Hoey remarked that the survey merely found what the USI had been arguing for years: “the survey reflects what we’ve been saying time and time again.”Ms.Hoey also referenced the results of the survey, and surveys conducted by the USI when she stated that “third level education is causing a huge financial strain on young people and families. Almost two third of family budgets have been adversely affected by the third level registration fee – which, at €3,000, is the second highest in Europe. USI research conducted in June shows that 58% of students miss meals, 39% go hungry and 34% go without heat. The research released this morning from the Irish league of Credit Unions shows that families are also feeling the pinch. Publicly-funded education benefits everyone, including families, not just those receiving the education.”

The research further revealed that 87% of parents are supporting their children through college, contributing an average of €447 a month per child to cover the costs of third level education. Furthermore, 4% of parents responded that they had/will have to approach a moneylender to cover costs. USI representatives say that this is a reflection of how determined families & parents are to send their children to University, as they know it’s the start of a brighter future for their children.

In light of this report Ms.Hoey once again called on the government to reduce registration fees and increase student supports, all of which was recommended by the Cassells report. Hoey argued this would not only help young people & their families across the country, but would also help to strengthen Ireland’s overall workforce; people being better educated & highly skilled would help the economy by enabling people to earn more, and put more back into the system.

“It’s a no brainer” and “…a win-win” said Hoey, “If politicians prioritise education, they will have a better, stronger workforce able to earn more, in higher tax brackets; and they will also gain the support of the people who vote them in. Prioritising education is prioritising the needs of the people.”

Further survey results:

  • Parents are saving for an average of 8 years for third level costs, saving on average €8,150
  • 73% of parents really struggle to cover the cost of their child’s third level education
  • 62% of family budgets have been adversely affected by the third level registration fee (marginal fall from 64% in 2015)
  • 67% of students are extremely worried about finding suitable accommodation for the academic year
  • 65% of students living at home compared to 62% in 2015, paying average of €376 on average in rent
  • Students living outside the home spending €1,048 euro per month, those living at home spending €530 per month
  • 68% students work throughout the academic year to fund third level education, working on average 17 hours per week