Cost of a child's education €70,000 - survey

 

Any future reduction in the child benefit allowance would leave many parents struggling to fund their children's education, according to a new survey.

The Bank of Ireland Life/Schooldays.ie research reveals that 80 per cent of parents say they do not believe the current State child benefit of €166 per child is sufficient to help them with education expenses.

In addition, 86 per cent of parents surveyed for the study said that any reduction in the child benefit allowance would leave them in a "financially difficult" position when it comes to funding their children's education.

The cost of educating a child from primary school to college is estimated to be almost €70,000, according to the study.

By far the biggest expense is occurred during a time when a child is in third level education.

The research estimates that it costs about €42,000 to put a young person through college, a figure that will rise significantly if plans to reintroduce fees proceed. In addition, the associated costs of second level education are estimated to be about €13,000 and €12,000 for primary level.

Almost 80 per cent of parents surveyed forecast that they will experience financial difficulty as a direct result of the decision to cut child benefit for those over 18 years and in full-time education from next year.

The research also indicates that many parents are already beginning to change their spending habits in order to fund education-related expenses such as uniforms and books during the recession.

Half of all parents surveyed said they planned to buy a larger size school uniforms for their children this year, while one in five intend to reduce pocket money by up to 50 per cent in order to pay for school-related expenses.

Nearly one in three parents will spend less on extra-curricular activities for their children due to the current economic environment, while over half will be looking to purchase second-hand schoolbooks, schoolbags and uniforms this year.

The survey was carried out in April and May, with a nationwide sample of over 470 parents with children in primary, secondary and 3rd level education.