New study shows supporting a college student can cost more than €10k

Aviva reported that significant numbers of parents think they are not ready for the cost of sending their child to college

A recent survey carried out by Aviva Ireland, reported that the average cost of sending a student to college when they are living at home is €5,122. This doubles to €10,125 for students that live away from home while studying. This high cost is mainly attributed to the current rental market.

As for the parents of students, in two separate surveys conducted by Red C, Aviva reported that significant numbers of parents think they are not ready for the cost of sending their child to college: in a survey conducted in October 2016, 59% of parents said they were not prepared at all for the cost, and merely 9% said they were completely ready.

In a separate survey (from April 2017), the numbers of completely unprepared fell to just under half. Despite this, the report considers lack of preparation for the steep costs to be concerning, highlighting that only 27% of parents with children not in college were saving.

Linked to this, were the results on how parents expected to pay. Most notably, merely 32% thought they would be the sole payers; 49% were reliant on some form of student grant (SUSI or otherwise), and 19% were reliant on financial aid from other family members (such as grandparents).

In a final part of the Aviva study, there was a Red C poll (of 1,280 adults) on if a system of student loans should be introduced. 25% of parents, students and the general adult population were strongly in favour of the introduction of a student loan system, with a significant proportion believing it should be examined (48%, 34%, and 43% respectively).

Opposition to loans was strongest amongst students, with 15% think it is a poor idea, and 20% thinking that it would be terrible. Outright opposition was lower in the general adult population (22%) and even lower amongst parents (20%). A small number of all three groups said that a student loan scheme would be the only way that they could send their own children to university (2%, 3%, and 4% respectively).

It is noticeable that in the report there were some discrepancies in the percentages, with neither the parent sample, student sample or the general adult population percentages adding up to 100%, with the student percentages coming closest (97%).