Two thirds of parents struggle with back to school costs
Almost two thirds of parents surveyed by the Irish League of Credit Unions for its annual back to school survey say that covering the cost of sending a child to school amounts to a financial burden.
Around a quarter of respondents say they get into debt in order to cover the costs every year.
The average debt parents find themselves incurring is €336, according to the report’s calculations.
Encouragingly, it’s down €61 on last year’s figure.
According to the study, the cost of sending a child to secondary school now averages at around €1,500.
That represents a marginal increase of €24 on the average amount last year.
The cost of sending a child to primary school has risen by an average of €63 to just shy of €1,200.
School books again top the list as the most expensive item for parents of secondary school children at €211, up from €196 last year.
Extracurricular activities are the top cost for primary school parents at €178, up from €167 last year.
Those relying on credit cards to pay for back to school costs is also slightly down at 17%, a reduction of 3 percentage points.
However, the number of Dublin-based parents relying on credit cards for back to school purchases remains high at 31%.
Around seven in ten schools are still seeking so called ‘voluntary contributions’, according to the report.
“Since we began carrying out our back to school research over six years ago, we have seen a steady increase in the cost of school books and uniforms,” Paul Bailey, Head of Communications with the ILCU said.
“For parents with more than one school going child, these costs can place huge financial pressure on a family. Our survey shows that nearly a quarter of parents go into debt to pay for back to school costs with a fifth of these incurring debt of over €500,” he added.
Over 1,000 people were interviewed for the survey towards the end of May and early June this year.