Most parents will struggle to pay the rising costs of their children going to college and university in the coming weeks, new research shows.
Eight in 10 students need financial support from their family to get through their third-level courses, seeking on average 428 euro a month during term-time, the study reveals.
The Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) report found 64% of parents will struggle to find this money and more than half of all students will have to take on part-time jobs to get through their studies.
Those who take on a job can expect to work around 19 hours a week to pay their way through college.
Almost four in every 10 parents surveyed described the financial burden as really hard on them, while nearly a fifth said they will not be able to manage the extra costs at all.
Most rely on years of savings to fund their children's third-level education.
The average family now saves for eight years to put one child through college, while others turn to credit union loans, credit cards and bank loans.
A small number are even forced to seek borrowings from a money lender, the poll found.
And more than seven in 10 parents said they have been badly hit by the third-level registration fee - up to 3,000 euro.
There has been a three-fold increase this year in the number saying they simply cannot afford the levy and their children will have to drop out of their studies as a result.
A major drain on finances for those heading off to college in the coming weeks will be rental accommodation.
The study shows 44% of students now choose to live away from home - up considerably from 32% last year.
Average rents cost around 346 euro; however, students going to live in Dublin - where there is a huge shortage of accommodation - can expect to pay much more.
Last week, the Union of Students in Ireland appealed to homeowners in the capital city to rent out rooms to college-goers during term-time over fears many are being priced out of the market.