The rising costs of third level education is resulting in significant financial strain on many Irish families.

Having to pay €3,000 student contribution, the rise in cost of travel expenses and rent for students living away from home you can quickly see how the cost of putting your child through third level education can add up. 

New research has revealed that 51 percent of parents putting their child through college are in debt to an average sum of €1,524 per year. 
 
The study published by Zurich Life Assurance is the second part of Zurich’s The Cost of Education in Ireland research series, which found that almost 73 percent of Irish parents find covering the cost of third level education a financial burden, with a further 75 percent feeling that third level institutions don’t do enough to help parents keep costs down. 
 
According to the research, the single biggest cost for parents is accommodation with 40 percent of Irish children living away from home during their college years. Providing for a student living at home was €4,339 a year, this figure jumped to €6,967 for those living in student accommodation, and €8,205 for rented accommodation. 
 
Third level fees were identified as another significant expense to parents with the average student placement costing €2,066.  
 
The research also revealed that 81 percent of parents support their children financially outside of rent, transport and college fees, spending an additional €2,016 a year on average. 
 
Commenting on the findings, Zurich Life Assurance said, “While every parent wants the very best for their children, sending them to third level education has become a significant burden on families and risks becoming a deterrent for prospective students in the future. Spiralling rental costs and other rising day-to-day expenses such as travel and food have contributed to the expensive living costs of students in Ireland. 
 
“The best way for families to help avoid putting their households under severe financial pressure, or pushing them into debt, is to ensure early planning around their children’s education, adopting measures such as early life savings schemes which can help families through life’s earlier big events.” 
Looking specifically at parents’ saving behaviour, the research found that 77 percent of parents have a savings account and save an average of €5,299 per year. Half of those savers (49 percent) say their top saving priority is to cover children’s education costs.” 
 
If you're planning to support your child throught the 17/18 college year feel free to click here for more information.