Over a quarter of parents in back-to-school debt - Irish Credit Union survey

By Maurice Garvey

OVER a quarter of Irish parents find themselves in debt in order to cover the costs of back to school for their children.

According to findings in the annual school-costs survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU), the average debt that parents find themselves in to cover the costs of childrend going back to school is €397, an increase of €40 from last year.

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Back-to-school costs continue to rise, with the overall spend on school items for primary school students at €1,123, up €174 from last year. In secondary schools parents’ average spend is €1,467, up €68 on last year.

Top expense for parents of primary school children is after-school care at an average of €200.

For second-level parents the biggest expense is books at €196.

 Voluntary contributions for primary schools have increased by 25 per cent to an average of €110 per child, with secondary school contributions remaining at an average of €140.

Daren O’Neill, CEO of Tallaght West Credit Union Limited encourages members to talk to them if they need help with their back-to-school budgets.

 “Last year Tallaght West Credit Union lent over €260,000 for educational purposes,” said Mr O’Neill.

“We know this time of year can be difficult for some , so we invite them to talk to us if they need a loan or budgeting advice.”

Results of the survey also revealed that 66 per cent of parents shop online for school supplies – citing convenience and better deals listed as the main reasons.

Covid-19-related concerns found 42 per cent of parents are worried that their children will fall behind in class as a result of home schooling in recent months.

Meanwhile, over half of parents believe there will be a mix of home schooling and classroom for the new term.

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