Belfast Telegraph

Bill paying delays to fund students

Almost a third of families have had to sacrifice spending on essential household bills because of delays in the student grant.

A credit union survey found 32% of families sacrificing spending on vital bills.

Research found 42% of parents dipped in to their savings to fund a child in college last year, with a quarter borrowing from their credit union.

The Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) third level education survey also revealed the increase in registration fees have also impacted on budgets in seven out of 10 homes.

Thousands of teenagers across the country who receive their Leaving Certificate results on Wednesday will find out next week if they have secured a place in university in September.

Mandy Johnston, ILCU spokeswoman, said heading off to college is an exciting time, but can also be very stressful for parents and students as the cost of third level education can be a significant burden.

"Families are already struggling with the wider impact of austerity and the economic downturn and paying for college has become increasingly challenging for many," he said.

"This round of research shows that 84% of parents struggle with the cost of third level education.

"The increased registration fee alone puts huge pressure on family budgets but when you factor in all of the extras, rent, bills, food, travel etc the costs begin to spiral.

"Our research shows us that, excluding rent and bills, students are spending an average of 516 euro per month on day-to-day expenses."

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