Over the past four years 130 students have dropped out of DCU due to financial problems.
In the 2010-2011 academic year when the registration fee increased to €2,000, 38 students dropped out of their course because they could not afford to go to college. This was the highest amount of drop outs in a single academic year over the past four years.
Speaking to DCU’s Student Advice Centre Manager Deidre Maloney, she told us some of the financial problems students face. “ I’ve had people who couldn’t come to college because they hadn’t got the bus fare. There was simply no money in the household”, Maloney told The College View.
Maloney is also Head of the Student Assistant Fund and she told us how applicants have increased dramatically over the past few years. “There has been a huge increase of students coming to us with financial problems over the past few years. It was at least a 40% increase last year on applications and it looks to be going a similar way again this year which is quite huge.”
Last year their funding was boosted to help deal with the increase in demand but things are different this time around. “This year we had a 20% cut in funding and a 40% increase in applicants” Maloney said.
Maloney went on to say how other issues are also causing large financial problems for students. “With less people having part time jobs and the delay in the SUSI grant money this is leading to a lot of problems.”
Unfortunately due to the delay with grant payments the student assistant fund can do little to help DCU students currently in financial trouble. “A lot of people think the student assistance fund will fill this gap but we cannot allocate money unless the fees have been paid and if your SUSI grant hasn’t come through then your fees haven’t been paid and you cannot get any money from the student assistant fund.”
“Before you might have been able to get a loan, or mum and dad would be able to fill the gap or people would have a part time job to keep them going. Now these options are not there any more and students are getting more and more desperate. They have nowhere to go, there’s no money out there”, said Maloney.
According to a DCU survey of 500 first year students carried out last February, 43% say they worry they won’t be able to finish their current course because of financial issues. A further 61% say that they don’t think they will be able to go on to a post graduate program because of money troubles.
The survey also revealed that over 75% of the students who took the survey will have run out of money at some stage during the year with 13% saying they run out of money every week. It also showed that parental contribution is the highest form of income for the students. Almost 27% of students said they spend less than €50 a week.
The survey revealed that 30% of students were in receipt of a grant payment. This figure has risen to 40% since February according to the Education Minister, Ruairi Quinn.
The survey also showed that 32% of students said that financial worries are impacting on their studies.