68% of students work to fund third-level education

Annie Hoey urged home owners to lease out rooms.

More than two thirds of Irish students take on part-time employment to fund their third-level education.

A total of 68% of students reportedly work an average of 17 hours per week during their college year.

The figures are revealed in research carried out by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ICLU) into the cost of third-level education in 2016.

While monies earned assist with food, travel, and registration costs, a total of 26% of students are forced to work in order to cover their educational costs specifically.

Male students earn approximately €252 per week and female students earn €180. Their average pay is €12 an hour.

In terms of the impact this has on their academic pursuits, 23% of students said they skip lectures to take on jobs, with women doing this more so than male students.

These figures stand beside the finding that 83% of students worry about passing their exams.

Separate to working, 22% of students utilise existing savings to fund their education, 17% rely on grants, and 13% borrow from a credit union or bank.

Students who live away from home during their studies face double the costs of living compared to those who remain in the family home.

On average, it costs a student in rented accommodation €1,048 a month to cover rent, food, college, and other living expenses.

Students who stay in the family home spend about €530 a month on expenses.

Rent is the single biggest cost for students, with an average of €376 monthly.

Students who live at home spend €128 a month on food, whereas those who rent spend €151.

In terms of transport, students renting are spending €109 on travel per month, while their live-at-home counterparts spend more, at €138 a month.

In a move to decrease the biggest cost, which is rent, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is hoping to recruit thousands of families around the country to open up their homes as ‘digs’.

It will be delivering flyers to 100,000 homes across Ireland.

“We will be targeting houses located close to colleges across Ireland that have spare rooms,” said USI president Annie Hoey.

“On August 1, there were only 87 rental properties in Cork city, 1,000 less than there was the same day six years ago. The flyers will be a direct marketing means to inform the public on how bad the rental crisis is and how much money they can make from renting out spare bedrooms to students.”

Ms Hoey said that a home-owner could earn up to €12,000 a year, tax free.

“Leasing out spare rooms is a very straightforward process, especially for parents whose children have flown the nest, or who are attending college the other side of the country,” she said.

“The average cost of college per child is €11,000 annually and leasing out a room to a student will greatly help with this cost, as you can make up to €12,000 annually, tax free.”

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