More than two thirds of DCU students facing financial difficulties

77% of DCU students have been worried or stressed about financing their education.

The survey, carried out by The College View on 538 students, asked how they fund their education and the impact financial difficulties have on their college experience.

80% of students who took part in the survey have missed a lecture or skipped college for a period of time because of financial difficulties such as being unable to afford transport to college.

Half of the students said their parents/guardians fund their education while 30% pay for their education with a maintenance grant. 15 students who took the survey have taken out a bank loan to pay their fees.

Out of the 46% of students who said they have a job, 53% said they have missed a lecture to attend work.

General Nursing student, Lisa Mulholland worked over the summer to pay for her education and has friends who put in 60 to 80 hours between their job and placement for their course. Other students said they were unable to find work to fund their education.

67% of students said financial difficulties had a negative impact on their college experience.

For some students, Christmas presents will go towards funding their education to stay in college. One student said: “I’m really struggling to keep up with bus fares to college and payments for books. As a result, for Christmas, I’ve asked all of my relatives just for a small donation of money instead of vouchers or presents. Basically, my Christmas gifts are going to have to go towards College.”

65% of students said they wouldn’t support the proposed €250 increase in the student contribution fee in next week’s budget.

Students had varied opinions when it came to funding education. Applied Physics student, Daniel said: “I believe that the current funding model is unsustainable and that tuition fees should be introduced.” Eva Walsh, a third year International Relations student said: “Higher taxes and maintaining the college fee status quo is the best way forward.”

In the recent DCU fees referendum, students voted that the Students’ Union lobby the government on behalf of the student body for option five: fully free tuition funded by taxes. Christopher Bone, a second year Accounting and Finance student said this option shouldn’t have been on the ballot paper. He added: “It’s a completely unreasonable position to hold and one that will not be listened to by the government.”

Many students expressed anger at the government. Ronan O’Dalaigh, a third year Business and Irish student said: “The government should realise that investment in education is one of the best ways to move the country forward. In the long term we should be aiming to have a fully free education system.”

Another commented: “Students are the future,” adding “it’s a disgrace that the government is giving so little to support us when without us there would be no future. For a country that prides itself on its ‘free education’ status we sure know how to forget about all the hidden costs”.

Higher fees for non-EU students were mentioned too. Actuarial Mathematics student, Naiqian Zou said she worked for nine years to save for her four year degree. Another student said the difference between the fees should be reduced.

Aisling Kett

IMAGE CREDIT: Andrea Guerra

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