Dramatic increase in students looking for financial advice

Over 1,500 students in Trinity College sought advice from welfare services in the last month, up almost 80pc from the same period last year.

Students around the country are suffering under the financial burden of high rent and increasing registration fees and accommodation officer with Trinity College SU, Orlaith Foley stating that 1,592 students have contacted the service looking for advice since August 5th to September of this year.

Senior Support Officer for DCU, Deirdre Moloney says they too have experienced “a dramatic increase in students seeking advice over the years”.

She argues that “the information is out there” for students struggling with financial issues during their time in college. She also added that “DCU’s financial services are spoken about throughout orientation week, and outlined in the diary, as well as on studentfinance.ie.”

The Student Assistance Fund (SAF) is another option for cash-strapped students. It is operated by Student Support & Development in DCU and funding is received from the Irish Government, with assistance from the European Social Fund. The aim of SAF is to provide financial assistance for any full-time higher education students who are experiencing financial difficulties whilst attending college. It also provides a further source of funding for higher education students in addition to the Student Grant.

The deadline for the SAF was last Wednesday, 8th October, but Deirdre says applications will re-open again in January 2015 for new candidates in semester two.

Deirdre agrees that some students may have to get part-time work in order to support themselves during their time in college but warns young people to keep on top of their studies also. “We’d encourage students to work, but no more than 15 hours a week as this may affect their education.”

Aids for incoming students such as DCU’s Access Scheme and schemes such as DARE and HEAR have also proved useful to students.

DCU Business student, Niamh Byrne applied for the DCU Access Scholarship when she was in sixth year in secondary school. Niamh says the scholarship isn’t promoted enough and says “If it wasn’t for my teacher, I wouldn’t have known about it”.

Jamie Concannon

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