50% of undergraduates plan to continue to further studies

Over 50% of undergraduate students are planning on continuing to study while 75% of students feel like they belong in higher education. This is according to the Eurostudent VI study which was published today, January 22, by Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

The report, under the jurisdiction of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), and the sixth of its kind, surveyed over 20,000 students attending higher education institutions on how they experience university life.

According to the report there are high levels of student satisfaction with the quality of teaching, the timetabling of studies and the facilities of the institution. When asked whether their lecturer inspired them, at the aggregate level, 47% of students either agree or strongly disagree with this statement. Greatest level of support for this statement was found amongst postgraduate and part-time students, at 60% and 57% respectively.

When respondents were asked if they would recommend their current study programme to other students, there was a considerable level of support for this statement with at least 70% agreeing or strongly agreeing with this statement. The aggregated level of disagreement was 11%.

When the respondents were asked if it was clear from the beginning of their programme what was expected of them, there are also consistent levels of support for this statement with 57% agreeing or strongly agreeing. This figure rises to 63% for postgraduates and 64% for part-time students.

The report also highlighted high levels of students feel like “they belonged in higher education”. At the aggregate level 75% of students disagreed with the statement that they don’t belong in higher education.

For full time undergraduates who are not employed, the proportion of their total income came from a much more narrower range of sources. On average 35% of their total income comes from either friends or family and 34% from non-repayable student sources such as the Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grant.

The average monthly income for all students who are employed is €910, and €568 for students who are not employed. These overall averages are higher than those obtained in the Eurostudent V survey, where on average the total monthly income for all students was €734.

The average monthly expenditure of all students was €832 of which €486 of this amount was met by the students themselves with the remaining €346 met by either their parents or partners. Accomodation was the largest single expenditure which accounts for over 40% of all expenditure, and the average spend on accommodation was €365. On average, students studying in Dublin pay €92 for their accommodation each month than students studying elsewhere.

The report also highlighted that the expenses of students often outstrip their incomes and that certain groups of students are heavily reliant upon external support from their parents or partners. According the the report’s findings approximately 36% of the total student population are experiencing serious or very serious financial difficulties. The report finds that students in institutes of technologies appear to be more likely to experience financial difficulties than students in universities. Students who work during the semester appear to experience lower levels of financial difficulties than those who do not.

Cian Mac Lochlainn

Cian Mac Lochlainn is an Economics and Politics student, and a Contributing Writer for Trinity News.