Private college unveils €5k ‘digs-for-fees’ initiative

A private third-level college is giving students and their families a unique way to cover their fees by opening up their homes to international classmates.

The digs-for-fees initiative by Griffith College Dublin will offset €5,000 — the average charge for an Irish undergraduate students — against a year’s tuition for anyone accommodating an overseas student at the college.

Although a €1,000 fee will be charged if the visiting student stays for a 40-week term rather than a full-year, the college said it is still a helpful way for families to meet their higher education costs at a time when so many are struggling with bills.

International students face average fees ranging from €4,000 to €10,000 for full-time courses up to degree level at Griffith’s three colleges in Dublin, Cork and Limerick, and will pay the college €5,000 if they opt for bed and board with a host family. The college said the amount is directly offset against the average full-time fee for Irish students and stressed it will not be making any money from the arrangements.

“The objective of the student exchange initiative is to offer more opportunity for Irish students by eliminating fees, while offering international students a unique living experience during their time in Ireland,” said Griffith College president Dermot Hegarty.

Meanwhile, the Union of Students in Ireland yesterday fired a warning shot at the Government parties that they will face a strong backlash at next year’s local and European elections if October’s budget hits the pockets of students and their families again.

It is compiling a student electoral database aimed at rallying enough votes to be decisive in the outcomes, with plans to match each registered student with the TDs and other Fine Gael or Labour politicians in their constituencies for targeted campaigning.

In its pre-budget submission, USI is calling for protection of student grants, the Back to Education Allowance, a fairer and more affordable postgraduate loan scheme and investment in the European Youth Guarantee.

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