DUBLIN, Ireland–More than half of college students in Ireland report they have skipped lectures and classroom time in order to work jobs and make money to pay soaring rents, according to a new survey from the Irish League of Credit Unions.
The number of students missing lectures to earn money rose by 33 percentage points compared to the 22% figure discovered in a similar survey in 2017, the ILCU added.
The survey further found 15% of students said they would cut down on food to afford living costs and 11% admitted avoiding medical check-ups to deal with the financial burden.
Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) spokesman Paul Bailey told the Independent, "The realities of the impact of financial pressure on third-level students is apparent in this survey. It's of concern to see finance and debt is such a significant worry for so many students.
"At a time when they should be focusing on their education, it's worrying to see that greater numbers are skipping lectures and sacrificing time spent on their education in order to earn some extra money."
Among the other findings, according to the Irish league:
- Six in 19 said having to work has a negative effect on their studies. Of these, three-quarters stated they had to work, and seven in 10 were working part-time.
- On average, students were working almost 15 hours a week (14.8 hours), earning just over €10 an hour.
- Students who lived outside their family home were spending €1,047 a month, while those at home spent €738.
- The study stated finance and debt issues were a student's "biggest worries", with 57pc admitting to having no budget or financial plan.
- Those surveyed said their biggest monthly expense was rent at an average of €318 a month, followed by food at €116.
- Students spent €88 on average each month on travel costs and €74 on utility bills. Some 40pc admitted cutting spending on their social life and 18% are sacrificing buying clothes.
- The majority reported financial or debt-related worries having a negative effect.
- They reported splitting their time between paid work and lectures and had no time for anything else - 22pc reported having no money for anything outside of class, while 18% said financial worries were a significant source of stress and affected their mental health.
- More than two-thirds (69%) struggle financially. And of these, more than a quarter (27%) said the costs associated with going to college are a significant financial burden.
- Meanwhile, 42% said it was difficult financially, but they managed to get by.
- The majority struggling financially turned to parents or family for help, while 22% went to a credit union.
- More than a third surveyed (34%) expected third-level education to leave them or their family in debt after graduation. Many were in favor of abolishing third-level fees (43%) and returning to State-funded education.
- More than a quarter said fees should be covered by the student and/or their families, but with a reduction.
- The survey revealed 57% didn't have a financial plan or budget to help with costs. Almost half of students said their third-level institution did not provide assistance with financial or budgeting advice.
- Some 56% said the importance of budgeting or planning for third level was not adequately conveyed to them during secondary school.