The recently published Third Level Education Survey has shown that 59% of parents have got into debt due to covering their children's college expenses.
 
The survey, conducted by the Irish League of Credit Unions asked both parents and students how they will meet the costs of third level education.
 
The survey also looked at the financial challenges that exist in meeting these costs.
 
Rather worryingly, the study showed that 94% of Irish parents financially support their offspring through college, leaving 72% of parents struggling.
 
The study, which builds on trends uncovered for the last number of years, finds 40% of parents reaching into their savings to help fund college costs.  
 
USI President Kevin Donoghue said that that this report reaffirms what the organisation has known for the last number of years.
 
“Despite that fact that there has been no change in the rate or threshold of the maintenance grant over the past two years, the value of the grant in fact has been significantly eroded when we take inflation into account."
 
Donoghue was also quick to add that there is a "worrying trend" in the substantial rise in parents supporting their children financially and their inability to maintain this support 
 
"Cuts to the student assistance fund and various grant cuts like adjacency rates and postgraduate supports are having a hugely negative impact on students. Parents and students are being pushed to breaking point," he said.
 
The study also showed that parents are saving for an average of 8 years to put their children through college, with 10% of these parents admitting that they would consider a money lending option to cover costs.
 
"The number of parents getting into debt is particularly worrying and highlights the fact that the cost of college goes far beyond the €3,000 registration fee," Donoghue concluded.