Cost of college rises to almost €14,000 for students living away from home

A student’s cost of living in Dublin is now estimated to be €1539 a month

The cost of going to college is expected to rise to almost €14,000 this year for students living away from home. 

This is a significant increase from the 2019-20 academic year, when college costs were estimated at €12,171 for the academic year.  

The Student Cost of Living Guide, compiled by Technological University (TU) Dublin, projects that students living in Dublin will need €1539 a month, amounting to €13,827 for the academic year. 

This figure includes the €3000 student contribution. 

The Irish Independent reported today that high rents and food inflation have contributed to the increase in college costs. 

Meanwhile, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is set to end for students on September 7, with many having lost jobs during the pandemic. 

According to the latest Daft Rental Report, rental supply in Ireland is at a record low. On August 1, there were 2,455 homes for rent across the country, the lowest since records began in 2006. 

Supply is becoming increasingly limited as significant numbers of landlords report selling their properties

The Student Cost of Living Guide estimates average monthly rent in Dublin to be €585, based on private tenancy costs. 

The guide does not use the cost of purpose-built student accommodation in its estimates, where monthly rents can be up to €940 each month. 

The cost of food has also risen significantly. Grocery bills are likely to be €220, amounting to €1980 over the academic year. In 2020-21, this cost was €450. 

The guide also budgets basic expenses, including commuting costs, college materials, utilities, medical expenses and socialising. It does not account for clothing, costs for other travel, holidays, loan repayments and savings. 

For students living at home and not paying for rent or most meals, costs associated with college are estimated at €6,636 by the guide.  

Speaking on the figures released by TU Dublin, the Union for Students in Ireland (USI) President Clare Austick called on government to reduce accommodation costs and the student contribution fee. 

Austick said that attending third level education is a “financial struggle or not even an option for many people in Ireland”.

“Going to college is extremely expensive in Ireland, with us having the highest fees in the EU, and these costs have been left to rise and rise in recent years” Austick continued. 

“It was a huge challenge before COVID and now it is a crisis for many students and families.”

She believes “the government needs to take a grip of the situation and immediately reduce the Student Contribution Charge”.

“Universities and colleges also need capital investment to enable them to build and provide student accommodation, so they can have some control on the cost of accommodation for students.”

Austick also noted deficiencies in the Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grant scheme, saying that it is no longer “fit for purpose”. 

“The level of financial support given to students through SUSI was drastically cut in 2011 and has not been reinstated, despite soaring costs of living, particularly accommodation costs,” she concluded. 

A review of the SUSI grant system is currently underway.

Sarah Emerson

Sarah Emerson is currently a Deputy News Editor of Trinity News. She is a Senior Sophister English Literature and Jewish and Islamic Civilizations Student.