A new poll conducted by Red C for Aviva, an insurance company in the United Kingdom, found that most parents in Ireland would be in favor of a student loan system.
The poll found that three out of four Irish parents believed student loans have the potential to be a great idea for the country of Ireland. Specifically, Irish parents were intrigued by the idea of enacting a student loan system that had an income-based repayment plan.
1,280 adults were polled for the Aviva survey. A little over 20 percent of the respondents were completely opposed to creating a student loan system in Ireland. However, a majority of parent respondents, 59 percent, believed student loans were worth examining further, at the very least.
As it currently stands in Ireland, a government-supported student loan system does not exist. Tuition fees in the country are free for students, but banks and credit unions do offer student loans for other costs associated with a college education such as housing.
“It’s not surprising that parents want to explore all options for funding higher education, including the option of a student loan system. But whatever the outcome of that debate, education will continue to be a big item in the family budget,” said Ann O’Keeffe, the head of individual life and pensions at Aviva.
There were a few more interesting findings from the Red C poll that was conducted on behalf of Aviva. According to the survey, 49 percent of parents claimed that they have made no financial preparations to help them meet the costs of sending their son or daughter to a higher education institution.
Aviva’s survey also found that the average Irish parent can reasonably expect to pay £5,122 to send their child to a college or university. That cost doubles to £10,125 when the Irish student has to move out from their house to attend college.
27 percent of Irish parents that responded to the poll claimed that they are saving to send their child to college. Additionally, 41 percent of respondents are either currently paying or planning to pay for their son or daughter to go to a institution of higher education. Many of these parents stated that they would meet the costs of college through a mixture of their savings, salary, and other forms of income.
50 percent of parent respondents expected to get some sort of grant for their child. Another 18 percent of Irish parents stated that they would be relying on monetary support from their parents or other relatives. More than a third of respondents, 35 percent, claimed to have a savings account with the specific purpose of bankrolling their child’s education.
Interestingly, in February LendEDU wrote about the story regarding Donegal Deputy Thomas Pringle’s opposition to an income-contingent student loan repayment system being integrated into Ireland’s higher education program. Pringle, an Irish lawmaker, did not disagree with the fact that Ireland needed more funding for higher education, but he believes that income-contingent repayment plans in the U.S. and UK have proven that the student loans never get repaid when operating under such a system.
For Ireland, the country may be hesitant to dive head-first into a student loan program when one considers what is happening with their neighbors in the UK. LendEDU has covered the student loan debt crisis in the UK quite extensively. In June, the Student Loans Company reported that students from Northern Ireland owed £3 billion in student loans, a 10.6 percent year-over-year increase.
Additionally, students in the UK now collectively owe more than £100 billion in student loan debt; this is the first time student loan debt in the country has climbed over £100 billion. The Student Loans Company also admitted that roughly 80,000 former foreign students have left the UK without paying back a total of £1.2 billion in student loan debt.
Author: Mike Brown
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