Belfast Telegraph

Students issue appeal over finances

Students' average weekly income has fallen by more than a third over the past two years, according to new research.

The survey commissioned by Allied Irish Banks (AIB) found income has dropped from 86 euro a week in 2009 to 55 euro now.

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has urged the Government to reverse changes to the student grant scheme, which they claim will mean cuts of more than 60%.

USI president Gary Redmond said: "In the current economic downturn, students are finding it impossible to find part-time employment, as there are no part-time jobs available. As a result of this, they are wholly reliant on the student grant and their parents as sources of income.

"In this current recession, thousands of families are struggling financially, and as a result students have little money to cover college costs, and the cost of everyday living.

"The recent cuts in the grants are forcing students to abandon their studies and join the dole queues, as they simply cannot survive on the reduced rates."

The AIB survey was carried out by market research agency W5 between the beginning of January and the end of March, mostly through online interviews. Some 6,500 people responded.

It found parents continue to be the main source of income at 35%, although there has been an increase in students relying on student grants for money.

Under the new grant system, the qualifying distance between home and college for the non-adjacent rate of grant was increased from 24km to 45km.

The USI claimed thousands of students face cuts of more than 60% in their grants, stating some payments will be slashed from 6,100 euro to 2,445 euro as a result of the boundary changes.

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