The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have released survey findings which have shown a high level of students facing financial stress and anxiety due to high college costs. The union held this survey in the lead up to World Mental Health Day on 10th October.
The survey found that 73% of students were stressed or anxious about paying rent, college registration fees, living expenses, transportation costs and general college expenses. USI president, Kevin Donoghue has called on the government to reduce the registration fee of €3000 and to address the student accommodation crisis which affected so many students earlier this Autumn.
Students now account for a significant percentage of those living below the poverty line (15.2% according to NERI) and the recent rise in rents (8.2% over last 12 months) has helped to compound the issue with many students feeling the strain.
The full results of the survey can be viewed below..
• 95.3% of students think the cost of college is too high
• 73.1% of students said the high cost of college causes them anxiety or stress
• 72% of students are struggling financially to stay in college
• 40% are on a maintenance grant
• If fees go up, 63% of students said they won’t be able to attend college
College Costs Causing Most Stress
• Registration fee of €3,000 (41%)
• Rent (23.6%)
• Food, drink and living costs (17%)
• Transport (10.4%)
• Books, equipment and stationary (7.1%)
• Laptop/Printer (1.4%)
Jill O’ Herlihy from Mental Health Ireland said “Financial struggles affect everybody, especially students. We need to be mindful that when these issues arise, we act upon it instead of sweeping them under the carpet. The most important thing to review is how you’re handling this stress, to make sure everything else in your life reduces it, such as sleeping for 8 hours, eating healthy and exercising”.
For students who are under significant financial strain, the first thing to do is engage with your college. Most colleges have student assistance funds in place for those with legitimate financial issues and will also help by providing advice and options. Simply call in to the college administration office and ask to speak to someone regarding student finances and options available to students in financial difficulty. As the old adage goes “A problem shared is a problem halved”.