A new collaborative survey between Spunout.ie and the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) has revealed almost half of all Irish college students find money to be a constant stress.
The survey has revealed 40% of students find money, with around 88% of students worrying about money in general.
71% of students stated working a part-time job alongside college helped to cover their college tuition fees, with 40% relying on student grants such as SUSI and 59% relying on financial support from their parents.
Financial concerns other than tuition fees included keeping part-time jobs, paying rent and travel expenses.
NUI Galway Students’ Union Vice President Cora Clarke has stated that balancing a part-time job and college can have “detrimental impacts on not only a student’s mental health but also on their education.”
“The struggle to find part time work that will fit to your schedule as a student often means you are left to work night shifts. Students are forced to work undesirable hours in undesirable jobs for a less than ideal wage, on top of their full-time commitment as a student” continued Clarke.
“On top of this students often miss lectures due to pressure from their managers to take on shifts that don’t suit them, meaning their education, which they are working so hard to afford is impacted negatively by this. It is completely ridiculous to expect students to continue to live this way” finished Clarke.
NUI Galway Student’s Union President Roísin Ni Lochlainn has stated that unfortunately, the findings of the survey do not come as a surprise.
“Year after year, we see more students priced out of education, with the ever-increasing rents, the rising cost of living and a student grant system that is not fit for purpose” explained Ní Lochlainn.
“The SUSI grant has dropped 7% since 2012, despite the cost of living in Ireland having risen to be at an estimation of €12,495 a year. NUI Galway has the highest amount of SUSI recipients in the country, but the full SUSI grant does not even cover the average months’ rent now. For a lot of students, the time comes where they must choose between paying their rent or not eating for a week.
Ní Lochlainn continued that the current situation was completely unsustainable for students and affected the entire student body from “student nurses, to international students, to students from just down the road. When we talk about suicide prevention, it isn’t just crisis text lines that comes into that, it is affordable housing, affordable healthcare, financial security.”
However, a range of financial supports are available for NUI Galway students. “There is SUSI, and if anyone encounters any issue [with SUSI] they can come to the SU and we can assist with appeals etc. There is the financial aid fund; Means Tested, Hardship Emergency, and HEAR/DARE. There are also scholarships available, and the chaplaincy have a small emergency fund for those in need. There is also the laptop loan scheme for students in need of a laptop, which opens in October.”
In addition to the resources offered by NUI Galway, Spunout and the ILCU have also furthered their collaboration to produce new content.
The module which is titled “Money on Your Mind” helps students gain a better understanding on how to manage and budget their money based on the findings of the survey.
Amy Lewis, Senior Content Producer with Spunout states: “We based our articles around the main financial concerns reported by new and returning students.”
Students showed an interest in learning more about creating a personal budget, saving money, getting a loan and investing, and we created articles to address each of these. As our survey results showed that 88% of students worry about money, we also felt it was important to provide supportive information for dealing with financial stress.”
Spunout’s top tip for student is to seek support and to talk to someone about your financial stress. “If students are feeling stressed about money, the most important thing to do is seek support” states Lewis.
“Talking to someone can help you to ease your worries and allow you to create a plan to resolve your financial challenges. Remember that you are not alone. Many people experience financial stress at some point in life.”
Spunout also has a free 24/7 text message support service for students who also need emotional support from financial stress which can be reached out at 50808.