3rd level Students living it up on grants

Interesting piece from the Sindo about students on grants living it up based on an as yet unpublished report from the ESRI. Makes a consistent follow I guess up from that article about students in UCD trading sexual favours for cigs. In the course of the piece we’re asked to rely on sources such as “An education figure” and “Another veteran college source” for more colourful information including references to students sending telegrams of all things. (I was in college in the late 80s and even then we had access to the telephone)

When it comes to presenting us with facts it really gets good saying “the report will show that students spend €132 a month on having a good time — but about €30 a month on books and study aides. But when questioned about their spending, researchers were told that it was books rather than bar bills that were of most concern to students. “Books were cited by most students as causing significant and sometimes unexpected financial strain,” the report will reveal.”

Books are normally bought at the beginning of the year and so would consistent a large one off purchase that would weigh on the minds of people people. But then we get to the meat of it all.

“However figures indicate “that students who receive the full maintenance grant of €3,250 a year may be spending more than a third of this on alcohol and cigarettes”, says one source. ”

Note the “may be spending” to cover the fact that they may not too. First up students in receipt of a full grant of €361 are getting considerably less that those on the dole plus they aren’t normally eligible for rent allowance. And that broad term could include socialising that doesn’t include alcohol at all, like going for coffee or lunch. But since it could be alcohol let’s just pretend it is all booze. And it is worth noting that a student tells the study: “Everyone in your class goes out once or twice a week. I’d say socialising is my biggest expense outside trying to actually live.” So outside of trying to live, (that would be trivial stuff like travelling to and from college, eating, rent,) socialising is their biggest expense. I guess they should be looking to pay a mortgage or health insurance according to the Sindo.

“Over the nine-month college year, students on the full grant receive €361 per month from the State.

Over 33,500 — or 25 per cent of third-level students — receive a grant. The top rate is €3,250 for students who live away from home, but some 16,000 also receive a Special Rate of Maintenance grant for students from extremely low income backgrounds of just over €6,355. ”

Now, I would reckon students on average have it easier than we had it 20 years ago, but what is with the focus by the Sindo on them and in particular on those on grants. Or is this straight forward pandering to the prejudices of the middle classes that grants are waste of their taxes?

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