The Kids Are All-Right… Kinda

student finance 1

The annual cost of living for students either at home or independent of it has increased since last year, according to a new survey titled DIT Campus Life’s Annual Cost of Living. It examined the cost of living for students and amenities such as food and transport costs.

According to the survey, the annual cost of living away from home for students stands at €7,902 a modest rise from the 2012 survey. Students are being hit the hardest when it comes to paying rent, with the prices in the Dublin market rising by 4.5%.

“Fewer students are able to get part-time work, and many families are struggling to support their children in college,” said Brian Gormley, Manager of DIT Campus Life, who also said a large number of students expressed being stressed by their financial situation.

Despite the financial challenges facing college students, the overall living costs associated with going to University are less than 2008 (some €500 less according to DIT) and the renting situation isn’t as crazy as it was.

Campus student offices, in many recognisable educational institutions in Dublin, offer a variety of help for those struggling, such as: financial advice, tuition payment plans and information on accessing student advisors. Many student offices provide information on a range of funding programs for students – such as SUSI – and have dedicated services and offices for mature students.

According to DIT, the cost of basic amenities, including transport has increased significantly yearly – the monthly Hop ticket has seen a €6 increase and this does not include the cost of the Leap Card or other services. Food costs stand at €1,548 yearly, books and materials will cost €639 yearly and having a functional social life will cost a student €1,152.

“A lot of students struggle financially,” said Patrick Clarke, a current UCD student studying Geography Planning and Environmental Policy. “Many are relying on college grants for rent money,” he said. Patrick lives in a relatively modern duplex not too far from the campus, where he commutes daily for classes.

Despite the worrying statistics, there are always silver linings: SUSI – the Government’s college grant system – offers a grant to students which, depending on household income, will cover the cost of tuition and a monthly contribution towards living costs.

By Liam Cahill