How much does college cost?

Primary and secondary school may be expensive, but costs climb sharply at third level

Students living away from home can expect to spend at least €1,494 per month, according to DCU. Photograph: iStock

Students living away from home can expect to spend at least €1,494 per month, according to DCU. Photograph: iStock

 

DCU’s student support and development office estimates that, for the year 2019-2020, students living away from home can expect to spend at least €1,494 per month, as follows:

Rent/mortgage: €620 
Daily transport to college (public transport/petrol): €148 
Transport at the weekends (travel home/work/other): €85 
Gas/ESB/oil: €80 
Groceries/food/toiletries: €180 
On-/off-campus meals: €57 
Internet: €31 
Phone/mobile: €28 
Medication: €15 
College materials (printing etc): €19 
College books: €25 
TV licence: €14 
Bin charges: €10 
Extra-curricular activities, ie gym/clubs and socs/sport: €52 
Other: clothes €50 + maximum on work/life balance social, eg cinema, €130

This does not include childcare, medical insurance, car insurance, maintenance plus NCT. It’s worth noting that digs – where students live with a homeowner and often get breakfast and dinner included – are usually cheaper than renting in a houseshare. The TV licence will be cheaper – as will most utility bills – the more people are sharing a house. Of course, with many students having laptops and tablets, there’s no need for a TV licence if you don’t have a TV.

Students living at home have the benefit of not paying rent, and will need about €652 per month to get by. This includes:

Daily transport to college (public transport/petrol): €148 
Transport at the weekends: €40 
Groceries/food (including pizza take-outs/other €15 once/week): €125 
On-/off-campus meals (meals on campus €7.50/day x five days): €70 
Phone/mobile: €28 
Medication: €15 
College materials, ie printing etc: €19 
College books: €25 
Extra-curricular activities, ie gym/clubs and socs/sport: €52 
Other: Clothes €50 + maximum on work/life balance social, eg cinema, €130

There’s scope for further cost-cutting here if students bring their own packed lunch to college, try to get second-hand or library books and, of course, save money on pubs by drinking (pre-drinking/“prinking”) at home before going out.