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Survey reveals one in three third-level students experience financial stress


Áine Ryan

OVER one-third of higher-level students experience ‘severe financial problems’, a new study launched yesterday (Monday) at the Castlebar campus of GMIT by Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor reveals.  
The sixth Eurostudent study, which surveyed some 20,000 students, confirms that the average income for full-time students was €754 per month while their average expenses were €832.
Accommodation was the largest single expense with an average cost of €365 per month. Interestingly, a higher proportion of males attend institutes of technology while a higher proportion of females attend universities. The survey also reveals that 32 percent of students receive grants while 22 percent of those surveyed are mature students and a significant 53 percent said they planned on continuing their studies after their graduation.   
Respondents also reported high levels of ‘fitting into’ higher education
Speaking at the launch, Minister Mitchell O’Connor said the report offered students ‘a voice’ which was of ‘critical importance’.
“This represents a very useful study into the social dimension of student life, and it will inform what measures we can take to ensure student success, which has so many dependencies. A priority for me as Minister of State for Higher Education is to provide target groups outlined in the National Plan for Equity of Access 2015-2019 with more opportunities to go to college and have a world class positive student experience while there.
“I want to commend the efforts of the Higher Education Authority and Insight Statistical Consulting for the attention to detail as evident in this report. I wish to thank the higher education institutions for their co-operation in facilitating the online survey and especially the students who took time to complete the survey. It has become increasingly accepted that the student perspective or ‘voice’ is critical to inform sound policy decisions in the higher education field.The findings presented in this report will be a valuable resource for all higher education stakeholders,” the Minister said.
Eurostudent is a network of researchers and data collectors, representative of national ministries and other stakeholders who have joined forces to examine the social and economic conditions of student life in higher education systems in Europe. The Irish study is overseen by the HEA on behalf of the Department and was undertaken by Insight Consultants.

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