New survey reveals nearly half of all college students struggle to afford living expenses
Posted on: 14 Sep 2021
88% reported they worry about money
41% of respondents saying they stress about money a lot of the time
Over 40% are concerned about paying for rent/accommodation
A new survey* carried out by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) and spunout, Ireland's youth information website, has found that nearly half of all college students say they struggle to afford living expenses and while 88% worry about money, over 40% stress about money all of the time.
Finding and keeping a job, travel expenses, paying rent, as well as college fees and books, were some of their biggest financial concerns.
In order to cover third level expenses, the majority (71%) plan to work part-time, followed by a mix of support from parents (59%) and the student grant (40%).
When it came to financial topics, over a quarter (26%) of those surveyed said they don’t have much understanding at all. When asked what areas they’d like to know more about, nearly two thirds (60%) said they’d like to improve their money management/budgeting skills.
The majority (70%) said they did not use budgeting apps or online tools to manage their money.
40% of respondents say they sometimes struggle to afford living expenses, while 7% say they struggle all of the time.
88% worry about money, with 41% of respondents saying they stress about money a lot of the time.
Over 50% are worried about travel expenses, finding or keeping a part-time job, and missing out on social occasions.
Over 40% are concerned about paying for rent/accommodation, paying college fees, paying for books and other expenses, and not being able to keep up with their friends.
When it comes to understanding financial topics, over a quarter (26%) of those surveyed say they don’t have much understanding at all. Over half (52%) have some understanding, while 20% said they have a good understanding.
When it came to specific areas of finance:
The majority of students (79%) felt they were not at all knowledgeable about Personal Contract Plans (PCPs).
31% weren’t at all knowledgeable about mortgages.
40% weren’t at all knowledgeable about investments.
When asked what areas they’d like to know more about;
Over half (60%) said they’d like to improve their money management/budgeting skills.
Over two-thirds (73%) would like to know how to invest.
Over half (51%) would like to learn more about mortgages.
47% want to know more about how interest rates work.
44% would like to know about different types of bank accounts.
42% would like to know more about loans.
The majority of students (72%) go to friends or family to learn more about finance, followed by news websites and social media. 70% said they did not use budgeting apps or online tools to manage their money.
Money on Your Mind Series
In response, the Credit Union and spunout have launched ‘Money on your Mind,’ a content series on spunout.ie that addresses the main financial concerns of 18-25 year old's, and provides helpful, jargon-free advice around managing money, financial stress and information on financial topics. The campaign - which goes live today, 14th September - will also include real-life stories from 18-24 year olds about their financial struggles and successes.
As part of the campaign, young people are encouraged to access the Youth Information Chat service where they can chat to a Youth Information Officer who can answer questions and point readers in the right direction. The service is available through spunout.ie/question.
Head of Communications at the ILCU, Paul Bailey, said,
"In our research, it was important not just to discover how students were coping financially, but also what their specific financial concerns were – as well as areas they’d like to learn more about. In response to these insights, we’re delighted to partner with spunout to launch the ‘Money on your Mind Series,’ where we’ll provide simple, jargon-free financial information and support for young people. Similar to spunout, the credit union is a not-for-profit organisation, committed to providing support to those who need it."
Kiki Martire, Director of spunout said:
"The Money on Your Mind survey clearly shows that the majority of third level students feel worried and stressed about their finances. Relying on a combination of familial support, student grants and part time employment to fund their education, almost 90% of respondents say they feel stressed about money. Students surveyed were worried about how to pay for rent/accommodation, travel expenses, college fees and related expenses, as well as keeping part time employment and missing social occasions because of a lack of money. Being able to connect with others and access the activities you enjoy is a mental health issue. Not everyone has people they can turn to for information on managing their finances, so providing trustworthy information that isn’t full of jargon is very important to the financial wellbeing of young people."
Visit Spunout.ie for more information, and to access the articles.
* The national study was compiled by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU), and carried out by spunout - Ireland's youth information website, in August 2021. 1,026 adults responded to the online survey.
Articles are available at spunout.ie/MoneyonYourMind