With rent prices as well as college fees rising every year, is it worth the price of admission for most students?
By Aoife Burke
There are two arguments here. For and against. I will start with for as I believe college is worth it.
I can speak about my own struggles to get here. From graduating from the Athlon Institute of Technology with a higher cert in applied social studies, I believed I would get straight into university. SUSI said no and made me wait 5 years. The longest 5 years of my life spent struggling to live on the dole, in a terrible house share situation.
However, the wait was worth it. I found NUI Galway to be more professional and organised than any other university I attended. It is worth it as everyone is so nice and friendly and the university itself is extremely supportive. I have found I have been graded fairly in exams and although I am twice the age of the other students, it is ok. We are all in this together! I am closer in age to the lecturers, so it isn’t like they are “teachers” (although they are) but rather friends.
I spent years in the workforce working as a secretary with no degree. Believe me I was making tea and taking abuse off people who had degrees who felt they could treat me however they wanted. There was also a pay issue too. Low wages and job insecurity. Being unable to afford a safe area to live in.
If you have a degree you have a world of choices ahead of you, and it’s never too late to do one. I know people who have grandchildren who are at university.
Having a degree matters, otherwise it’s a lifetime of dead-end jobs.
Against the point? It depends on your financial situation. We are currently in a recession. There is no shame in getting SUSI funding. You get exactly the same parchment on graduation. You have to be able to afford a place to live. Some students live in hostels, but they are at times unsafe.
I do think the back to education allowance should increase. I also think they should bring back the €500 you got at the start of the year.
At the end, graduating makes it all worth it. My higher cert not only got me into university, but it’s protected me from snobbery. I do recommend access courses as there is funding throughout your degree. I think SUSI funding should be available for everybody and fees should be abolished, similar to what is done in Scotland.
With all things considered, I would argue that college is worth it. If you can survive, I say do it!