A survey projecting financial costs for students by Technological University Dublin (TUD) has revealed that estimated costs have fallen for the first time in 10 years, to just under €12,000 a year. However this was only a slight drop, with a marginal decrease of €12,171 to €11,948.
One of the main contributors to this decrease in costs is the lack of social activities that will be available to students due to the closure of nightclubs and limited access to pubs. Dr Brian Gormley, the head of college life at TUD told The Irish Times that the price of rent for students is expected to drop increasingly. This is due to a fall in incoming international students and a 40% increase in supply to the private rental market.
The financial concerns that young people studying in Dublin were experiencing prior to the COVID-19 pandemic will only be exacerbated due to the fall in available part time jobs for students. This is according to TUD’s survey carried out on over 1,500 students, which revealed that 63% of those surveyed had a part time job last semester, but only 36% are expecting to have one next semester.
Despite the slight decreases in costs, the financial strain on students in Dublin is far more prominent compared to those studying in other areas of the country. The TUD survey states that the monthly rent for students outside of Dublin is €469. The monthly rent for students in Dublin is €574. The rent in Dublin can vary widely from less than €495 a month for a shared room to €1,976 for a single room in Dublin 2.
The survey provides a guide for students on managing their finances, stating that costs of accommodation take up over a third of the student budget. It is stated that rent in Dublin varies from less than €250 a month for a shared room, to up to €600. This is an unrealistic summation of rent for students in Dublin, especially in terms of accommodation for UCD students.
UCD Students’ Union (SU) organised a number of protests at the end of February against an announcement that campus accommodation was to increase by 12% over the next three years. For the academic year 2019/20 it cost between €6,745 and €11,591 in rent for the two trimesters. At the lowest end of campus accommodation, that’s €749 a month.
Former President of UCDSU, Joanna Siewierska, has emphasised that students are struggling to survive in college due to the increase in financial costs. She has mentioned that the campus rents in UCD have increased by 76% over the last decade and emphasised that the hikes in rent are locking young people out of access to higher education and must be reversed immediately.
Dr Gormley mentioned to The Irish Times that, due to the increased pressure on students, TU Dublin is launching a campaign to raise additional funds to provide financial support. He recommends that any students facing financial struggles should contact the student assistance fund in their college for advice and assistance.
Reporter – Áine Burke