Nearly half of parents are not saving to fund their children’s education, even though college registration fees are continuing to rise and further means testing for grants is on the cards.
The survey by Bank of Ireland, in association with schooldays.ie, also shows that while calls have been growing for the children’s allowance to be means tested, almost 25% of parents who save for their children’s educational needs use their children’s allowance to do so.
Two thirds of the parents questioned expect that they will borrow from banks or credit unions to meet college costs.
However, it appears parents do not realise just how much they will have to borrow, as half of respondents were not aware of the actual cost of third-level education.
The average annual cost of a secondary-school education is €2,260, or €7,005 at a private secondary school.
Third-level education, if the students lives out of home, costs €10,918 per year compared to €6,017 for students who remain in the family home.
Two thirds of the parents surveyed said their income had fallen in the past five years. One in five had lost their job.
Despite this, parents have not cut children’s pocket money.
It emerged there was a wide disparity in the amount of pocket money given to secondary-school children — figures ranged from €2 to €60 per week while college students received between €10 and €120 per week.
Parents are also forking out considerable sums on extracurricular activities. Up to 63% of the parents of primary-school children spend between €100 and €500 on extracurricular activities per child each year.
Childcare is the area where most parents have sought to make savings, with 46% having reduced their spend.
The survey also shows 61% of parents believe a public secondary-school education is as good as private one, while 36% would be prepared to pay for private secondary education to improve exam results.
The online research was conducted in May and June by Schooldays.ie on behalf of Bank of Ireland Life. A nationwide sample of more than 1302 parents with children in primary, secondary, and third-level education were surveyed.
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare has confirmed that 115,450 families were issued with the back-to-school clothing and footwear allowance in mid-July.
A further 63,000 extra applications were made by people who did not receive the payment automatically.
The majority of applicants will receive the payment within four weeks of applying.
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