Faced with expensive college fees– students are juggling between work and college, working 40 hours a week – to pay for college fees.
Over two weeks ago, thousands of students around Ireland walked out of lectures, asking for the government to listen to their voices and hold them accountable for how they live through struggles every single day.
It is challenging to be in third level education in Ireland. I witnessed and felt the frustration of the students during the walkout.
You might imagine how difficult it would be to find affordable accommodations, yet even if they did exist, students couldn’t afford them. In many cases, students cannot afford to pay 2,500 euros a month. I’d prefer these numbers if they were EuroMillions numbers or instant cash sums, but they’re not.
There will be a reduction of €1000 for students’ €3000 student contributions, but would that be enough? Despite this, students will still need to work between 20 and 40 hours per week to meet their financial needs.
On average, students will have to pay €13,000 if they are non-EU, while €6000 for EU students. That’s a large sum of money to be paid by students. Even those with “free fees” will still have to pay €2000.
As Nathan Murphy, VP for Community and Citizenship during the walkout:
“People might think, oh parents paid for it… parents might help a little, but students get part time jobs where you’re working 20 hours a week on top of your 40-hour degree.”
It can be challenging for students to balance their college work and part-time jobs while keeping on top of their college work. In a story shared with the College View, a third-level student described how she works five days a week to help her mother pay her €6000 tuition fee.
FOR THE DREAM
It was two hours after the walkout (13th October,2022), we could barely hear ourselves talking, yet I can still hear her stories clearly.
It was six years ago since she arrived here in Ireland along with her family. She told the College View she tried applying for SUSI grant, but was rejected twice because her mother’s salary was over the threshold limit.
“I tried twice. I was refused because they said my mom’s threshold is over”the 20-year-old student told the College View.
“My mom’s providing for me, but then…I don’t want to like just taking money off her all the time. I have part time work…. I’m trying any ways this year. So, for next year my mom wouldn’t have to pay for it,” she added.
Studying Aviation Management, her course currently costs €6000 as she is only eligible as an EU student. In terms of applying for a citizenship to get free fees, she told me they’re still processing their Irish Citizenship. However, due to COVID-19 their citizenship process is currently being delayed.
When asked about her thoughts on the €1000 reduction, she responded:
“Are we even eligible?”
In terms of accommodation and being a young adult in Ireland, she thinks “accommodation is too much to afford” although she had been “planning to move out this year to be independent”. She travels early in the morning for her morning lectures scheduled at 9 am. On the other hand, during the week, she also juggles her time between her work and class to make ends meet.
I was told that her mother even told her to leave her job as she wanted her to focus on her studies. The aviation management student said that she would love to work with planes and become a pilot or a flight attendant someday. However, to get that dream she has to work and try earning €70 a day in order to pay her fees.
Listening to her story made me realise that a student like her need more than a thousand euro to reach their dreams. Maybe it is right to ask, “is it enough?” or “shouldn’t it be more than that?” or maybe even ask more.
If only things could be made easier for students like her, they wouldn’t be worrying how to juggle between college and making money. She’s just one in a thousand.
Hannah Giron Daygo
Image Credit: Hannah Giron Daygo