How much is the cost of living for first-year students?

Rent has fallen slightly in Dublin but increased by 5 per cent in other cities

Every year, The Irish Times asks third-level institutions to provide us with a cost-of-living guide for incoming first-year students. Because of the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit – and the fallout that is yet to fully settle – these figures will have changed by September 2021.

However, current information from Jennifer Farrell, head of student administration at Technological University (TU) Dublin, shows the overall cost of living away from home has dropped for the first time in a decade. It's down from €12,171 to €11,948.25 due to lower phone costs and less social activities because of Covid.

Accommodation costs

Student hubs

– Full term from €125 to €235 per week, inclusive of utilities.


– Three-night stay from €117 to €180 per week, inclusive of utilities.

Host families

– From €110 per week, depending on the accommodation package offered.

The cost of renting fell slightly in Dublin during the pandemic but rose by about 5 per cent in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford cities. By September 2021, new student accommodation blocks should see an increase in available accommodation and a decrease in rents.

Class materials

Students have had to purchase laptops and, in many cases, get broadband packages that are more expensive in rural areas. The average cost of a laptop is €650 and, with blended learning here to stay, it is a cost most first years in 2021 will need to consider.

Average wifi cost is €30 per month but many had to pay installation costs of about €120.

Living at home

Students living at home have generally not had to pay for food and accommodation and have also saved on travel. However, they may have missed out on work due to the closure of retail and hospitality businesses throughout the Covid-19 crisis.

TU Dublin’s campus life office puts the cost of living at home in 2020-2021 at €330 per month. But with the vaccine rolling out and students expected back on campus in the next academic year, travel, food, stationary, entertainment and socialising costs – and students will be itching to make up for lost time – are likely to increase and that figure may double from 2021.