If you are the parent of a college student, you will know just how expensive it really is to send your teenager to third level.
Fees alone can set you back thousands, and that's before you've factored in books and even accommodation if your son or daughter has to move away for their chosen course.
To help with the expense, Dr Brian Gormley, Head of Campus Life at DIT, is urging students and parents to make sure they are getting their full entitlements.
"It's clear from talking to students and their families that it is not widely known that you can get tax relief on college fees paid," Dr Gormley said, as the college released its annual Cost of Living Guide for students for 2018-19.
"Less than 12% of students claim back tax, and for full-time undergraduates, that figure is lower (7%). If you are paying for more than one student in full-time education, you can claim tax relief on the student charge for the second or subsequent children. Also, if you are paying tuition fees, either for a post-graduate programme, a part-time programme or for repeating the year, you may be entitled to tax back. We estimate that Irish families are missing out on millions of unclaimed tax relief."
As part of the guide, DIT offers other money saving tips to help with spiralling costs:
- Not a lot of people realise that the Child Leap Card is valid until a student turns 19, and this can reduce the weekly cost of travel by over 60%.
- When finding somewhere to live, the advice is to consider better value options, such as Home-stay or “Digs”. Surveys have shown that students who live in home-stay arrangements are more satisfied with their living arrangements than students who live in campus-style or private rented accommodation.
- Many students tell us that it’s more cost-effective to commute, even long distances, than pay the high rental prices in the bigger cities. The Eurostudent survey showed that between 2013 and 2016 the percentage of students staying at home with parents or relatives went from 40% to 44% in Ireland.
- Check out if there are scholarships for which you may be eligible. Last year DIT and the DIT Foundation gave out over €500k in scholarships to students.
And if you want to make a few quid to help with the yearly costs, Dr Gormley is also asking families with a spare room to consider renting it to a DIT student.
“Last year our accommodation service, DIT Student Pad, had over 400 host families with accommodation for first-year students, and we have advertised looking for more host families for the next academic year.
"Any family interested in hosting students should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. A person renting a room can earn up to €14,000 in rent before paying tax on the rental income."