Making connections with peers, joining clubs and societies and team sports are key aspects of college/university life, alongside achieving a higher education qualification. Creating those connections through a support network of people helps students to get the most out of student life, stay the course and achieve their qualification. Which is what we all want to see for each student who has the drive and vision to want to go to third level education. But once they get there, how easy is it to create that community? Especially if they’re sitting on a train or bus commuting for hours each day.
The key factor in commuting or living away from home for students is often down to funding their accommodation, and it would seem, for those living at home while they save on not paying private rent, though are probably more likely to have higher transport costs and they miss out on those key experiences.
Accommodation remains a high priority and concern for current and future higher education students. With a recent survey from University of Limerick Student Life (Union) showing out of 1,233 students just over half of the respondents having secure accommodation, while one third were still seeking accommodation and the remaining commuting. While another survey tells us that students need an extra €14,000 a year to cover the costs of living away from home.
That’s where SVP come in, facilitating as best we can, by removing the financial burden and barriers to higher education students who want to create a better life through education, empower themselves and show others behind them that they can do it too. Making college/university more possible is what we do, each year. And with our members action on the ground, higher education support continues for those on low incomes because they and society will benefit greatly from their success.
Alongside that ongoing support from members and the more that the social justice team can do to change policy and create a higher education system that’s a more viable option for those on low income, giving them the opportunity to a good quality and successful student life which is only right.
Their success will be our success. Which is why we have the following asks in Budget 2024 to widen participation in higher education by removing the imposing financial barriers.