While the average cost of sending a child to primary school may seem excessive, and worse still when it comes to the rising cost of secondary school, the expense associated with third-level education in Ireland is in a completely different ballpark.
All 'free fees' third-level institutions charge a mandatory student contribution of up to €3,000 per year and unfortunately this student contribution is just one of the costs likely to be incurred.
Add to this the continued rise in rent costs for students living away from home, and you can see how quickly the cost of putting your child through college can add up. Zurich Life’s 2017 Cost of Education Survey has found that the annual cost of one year in third-level education for a student living in rented accommodation is €8,206.
For those students living at home, the annual cost is still substantial, standing at €4,340.
Some 69% of parents say that their children, as well as attending college have a part-time job. This may allow them to help out with covering some expenses, but given the increase in the cost of living it's unlikely they will be able to contribute in any significant way.
For many parents the real challenge comes when trying to get to grips with the costs of education when it's too late. This often leads to parents having to fund everything out of their day-to-day expenditure or take out a loan.
In the US, parents start saving for their children’s college fund practically from the moment they are born, and in the UK student loans bridge the financial gap for students and parents alike.
However, in Ireland neither of these are commonplace and as the cost of sending children to third-level increases each year, so too does the stress and worry for parents that they will be able
to meet these increasing demands.
Therefore, wouldn't it make sense to plan ahead and build up your savings year-on-year? Building up the funds to support your children’s education is easier than you think, as this table
For example, if you saved the Government child benefit of €140 per month for five years (as of January 2017) from when your child was born, by the time they started school you could have built up savings of €8,832 in time to fund this crucial stage in their education.
*Source: Zurich Cost of Education Survey 2017