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Thurles Credit Union Report Student Loans Increase

Thurles Credit Union has reported a significant increase in applications for student loans ahead of the 2012 / 2013 academic year. The Local Credit Union believe that the increase in the third level registration fee (€2,250) combined with the significant increase in day to day costs of going to college, has forced many students & their parents to borrow in order to meet this necessary cost.

I am aware that recent research carried out by the Irish League of Credit Unions in the last 12 months indicates that students (72%) are still relying heavily on their parents to help fund their 3rd level education. On top of academic fees, average monthly spend (excluding rent and bills) stands at approximately €480. Half of the students surveyed rented accommodation during the college year paying €330 -€350 for rent, plus €70 – €90 on average for other necessary bills each month. e.g Utilities like Gas, Electricity, Heating & Waste Disposal Charges, often not factored into the overall equation.

This research also found that 55% of students are forced to work part-time throughout their academic year, with 33% skipping University lectures to enable them to do so. Financial issues (68%); fear regarding the passing exams (68%) and not getting a job after college (64%) are the greatest worries for Irish students.

Speaking to Thurles.Info earlier today on these issues, Mr Donal Scannell, CEO of Thurles Credit Union stated: “The significant cost of third level education puts phenomenal pressure on both parents and students starting or returning to 3rd level education this year. The increased registration fees combined with monthly rent and bills, books and materials and day to day expenses are a significant financial burden to many families. We have also seen the removal of financial assistance to postgraduate students. In the last budget, the postgraduate maintenance grant was scrapped making it even harder for students to attain postgraduate qualification.

Thurles Credit Union is available to support both parents and students as they prepare for the academic year. Thurles Credit Union offers one of the most competitive personal, student and education loan rates on the market. We encourage anyone who is looking to finance their education or who simply want some advice on planning ahead or budgeting to call into Thurles Credit Union and speak to a member of staff. Planning ahead where possible is the best way to prepare for these expenses.”

So we asked Donal the following question; “What can Thurles Credit Union really offer to students at this important stage in their academic lives?

We share with you Donal’s advice, which is as follows:-

1. Savings / Budget Plan
At a time when many Irish families and individuals are struggling with increased financial pressures it is important that, where possible, you plan ahead for larger expenses such as college registration fees. While most of us find a budget plan boring, it is absolutely essential as it will show you:

  • How much money is coming into your household?
  • How much money is going out?
  • How much you can afford to offer to those to whom you owe money?
  • How to best plan your spending in the future?

If possible, a regular savings habit is important, whether you are saving to pay for something specific or just for that rainy day. Saving can be an important part of planning ahead. Open a savings account and try to put something, no matter how small, in on a regular basis.

2. Student / Education Loans
Thurles Credit Union offers one of the most competitive rates on education loans. Loans with your Credit Union are different and here is why:

  • There are no hidden fees or transaction charges.
  • Credit union interest rates are fair and reasonable and capped by law.
  • Repayments are calculated on your reducing balance, so you pay less interest with each repayment.
  • Your credit union loan is insured in the event of your death – subject to terms and conditions – at no direct cost to you. Other lenders charge for this.
  • You can pay off your loan early, make additional lump sum repayments or increase your regular repayments, without a penalty. Other lenders may charge you extra for paying them back faster!

3. Bursaries / Scholarships
Thurles Credit Union run a very successful Student Bursary competition for Leaving Certificate Students pursuing Third Level College for the first time. The winners of our Student Bursary 2012 competition are due to be announced next month.

Our sincere thanks to Donal for giving of his valuable time & advice.

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