- 20 Apr 23
The spiralling cost of living has put an increased strain on students, with the HEA's head of skills, engagement and statistics Dr Vivienne Patterson stating that the new report provides a vital insight into the lives of third-level students.
A new report from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) has shown that one in three third level students are reporting serious or very serious financial difficulties.
The 33% figure has grown from 26% in 2019 as the cost of living here continues to rise.
Accommodation is unsurprisingly the largest single expenditure reported, accounting for a significant 35% of all spending, with average rent having also risen from €415 in 2019 to €469 per month in 2022.
Nearly a third of students (32%) indicated that they had a disability, another increase from 25% three years ago, with mental health issues the most frequently reported disability.
Experiences of discrimination were also examined, with 35% of female students stating that at one point or another they had been treated as though they were less capable or smart than the male counterparts, in contrast to 25% of male students.
Again, an overwhelming majority of female students reported experiencing sexual harassment with 32% of females compared to 14% of males.
Female students were also more likely to feel unsafe walking alone either on campus or in their neighbourhood compared to male students.
These findings are among those in the Social and Living Conditions of Higher Education Students in Ireland 2022 report, based on the Eurostudent VIII survey, which has just been published today.
More than 21,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in Ireland were surveyed for the eighth round of the European-wide project since 1997.
€1,122 was the average monthly income for students- €118 lower than their monthly expenditure of €1,340. For nearly all student groups whose expenditure exceeds income, they were left reliant on partners or family members for financial support.
HEA publishes Eurostudent VIII Report which revealed that the numbers of students enrolled at Irish higher educational institutions has increased by 6.3 percent.
Read more: https://t.co/iLSmwzEzkl
— HEA (@hea_irl) April 20, 2023
Mental health was also examined, with 15% of students claiming to be “extremely happy”, 41% “happy” and 3% “extremely unhappy.
Other issues such as course workload and student employment were explored with 25% of postgraduate students on average spending 25 hours per week on personal study compared to 18 hours for undergraduates.
Almost half (49%) of full-time undergraduates who were not employed during term received financial support from their parents, compared with 32% of those who were employed.
HEA’s head of skills, engagement and statistics Dr Vivienne Patterson said that the new report provided a vital insight into the lives and well-being of students, including the impact left by Covid-19 on their sense of belonging within their third-level institutions.