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Higher Education

Rise in students facing 'serious financial hardship' as average expenses surpass income

Those experiencing serious financial difficulties rose from 26% to 33% in two years.

STUDENTS ARE FACING “serious financial difficulties” as expenses soar above income, a new report by Eurostudent has found.

In 2022, the overall average monthly income for all students was €1,122, while the average monthly expenditure was €1,340.

Those experiencing serious financial hardship rose from 26% in 2019 to 33% last year.

For “almost all” student groups expenditure exceeds income, which the report says has resulted in people becoming “highly reliant upon external support” from family or partners to afford higher education.

Labour Senator and Annie Hoey has accused Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris of spending “too much time on spin” and not enough on solutions.

“The enormous financial burden of attending further and higher education is well known however it is deeply concerning to learn that things are getting worse, not better, for students despite the newly created Department for Further and Higher Education”, she said.

Plinth statements 007 Labour Senator Annie Hoey. Sasko Lazarov / Sasko Lazarov / /

“We are coming close to the time of year when panic around student housing sets in. These private student housing providers are manipulating students and especially their parents who want to ensure that their children are in good quality accommodation when they move away for college.

“Students should not have to spend their entire summer struggling to find an affordable option for accommodation but should be taking time to get ready for the academic year ahead.

“They, like all renters, deserve certainty of tenancy and affordability.”

Student demographics

The proportion of students progressing to third-level has been steadily increasing in recent years.

Since 2019, the numbers of students enrolled in higher education institutions has increased by 6.3%.

While the gender balance at higher level is relatively even, women are more likely to study in areas such as education, healthcare and welfare.

Technology, engineering and construction were more male-dominated. 

A higher proportion of female students attend universities. The survey also found that 11% of the total student population have children. 

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