The average cost of going to college for a student living away from home in rented accommodation will rise to €13,305 year from September, according to a new guide. It includes the student contribution charge of €3,000 a year, but about 40pc of students are not liable for the contribution because they are receiving a grant. The year can work out more than €7,000 cheaper for students who stay at home for their third-level experience. For a student not paying for accommodation, the cost is put at €6,159 for the year.

Meanwhile, students who leave home to study in Dublin but live with a host family – rather than renting in the capital – can also cut their costs. The latest figures come from the annual Technological University Dublin (TUD) student cost of living guide, compiled by its student services and well-being office. TU Dublin student engagement and experience officer Dr Rachel O’Connor noted that students who must live away from home can make substantial savings by choosing to stay with a host family.

Rental costs vary around the country, and the national average is put at €636 a month, which works out at €5,724 for a nine-month academic year. The rent figure is based on the EuroStudentVII 2019 survey, adjusted with the inflation rates for 2020 and 2021, but may underestimate the reality in today’s market.

Also, in the current market, students may find it difficult to secure a nine-month tenancy in private rented accommodation, and rates, generally, may be much higher, particularly in Dublin – around a €1,000 a month or more – or other cities. Speaking about the cost of rent in Dublin specifically, Dr O’Connor said private rooms in purpose-built accommodation in the city centre cost between €230 to €258 per week.

“However, living with a host family this year is typically €165 per week for a five-day agreement, including utility bills, or €93 less a week than €258. Not only is this option the most economical, but it also offers the most flexibility as students can opt for a five-day rental agreement over 25 to 30 weeks compared to seven days over 40 weeks in a student hub,” she said. TU Dublin is currently updating its host family database and is inviting interested families to register.

The €13,305 figures breaks down to an average €1,478 a month, and includes average costs such as utilities (€64), food (€194) , travel (€48), books and other class materials (€74), clothes and medical expenses (€39), mobile phone (€14.99), social life (75) and student charge (€333). The travel cost is based on the capped young adult LEAP fare at €11.00 a week in an average month of 4.3 weeks. TU Dublin also advises that class materials and equipment costs can vary greatly, particularly for students in arts, sciences and catering.

Source: Katherine Donnelly, Irish Independent.

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