Nolan says poverty is preventing many Offaly students from going to college
Independent TD for Offaly, Carol Nolan has harshly criticised the Government’s failure to respond to student poverty, stating that, “the burden of family poverty is a systemic barrier for many young people progressing to Third Level education and inadequate student welfare supports is having a catastrophic impact on the physical and mental well-being of those struggling to remain."
Speaking yesterday at the Union of Students in Ireland Pre-Budget Submission at Buswells Hotel Dublin, Deputy Nolan stated that, “as we move from the holding position of fiscal austerity measures, it is imperative that Government addresses the legacy of student poverty that has emerged over the past number of years."
"A comprehensive strategy is required to re-finance third level participation over the coming years. A shortage of Student Accommodation has led to an exponential inflation of the cost of available spaces and this is the single greatest obstacle to many even going to third level."
"For those that do manage to finance themselves during the first year, accommodation costs are an ongoing threat to retention. High rental costs, poor quality accommodation and inadequate heating are pushing many students into severe poverty, without adequate means to eat travel or participate in academic life. This is having a detrimental impact on both the physical and mental health of many students and ever increasing numbers are finding themselves in crisis situations without supports," she continued.
"The USI briefing highlighted the severity of the situation nationally and their budget document identified living costs; accommodation places and mental health supports as the greatest priorities for investment. The USI has calculated that an extra 26,000 student accommodation beds will be required by 2019," Carol continued.
“Inadequately funded third-level education is having a detrimental impact on job creation, social equality and economic growth. It will be impossible for this Government to achieve its own objectives or attract foreign direct investment, if it fails to invest in third level education. This sector must be awarded due consideration in the balancing of Exchequer priority investments," she concluded.
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