Eurostudent IV survey is a comprehensive study of the living and study conditions of students across Europe conducted in 2009/2010 and commissioned by the Higher Education Authority. This study was led by Peter Ross of Life Consulting while working at a previous employer. This study provides up to date information on the study and living conditions of the Irish higher education student population.
Over the next few blog posts I will summarise the key findings. In this blog I’ll discuss the growth of higher educaton in Ireland, student demographic profile and accommodation and travel. In Ireland there has been unprecedented expansion in educational opportunities in recent decades. Ireland’s higher education participation rate has grown from 20% in 1980 to 55% in 2004, and is now estimated to be over 65% per cent.
Demographic Characteristics of Students
A typical full-time student is on average 21 years old, living in their parent’s house or in rented accommodation, studying an Honours Bachelor Degree and has entered higher education via the Leaving Certificate. Part-time students are much older, with an average age of 32 years old and living in their own household. They are also much more likely to be in regular employment and have entered higher education via a non-traditional route (such as a mature student or an Access programme).
Accommodation and Travel
In the Celtic Tiger years the cost of living in Ireland increased rapidly with inflation being fuelled by the economic boom, this has had a knock on effect for students with accommodation being more expensive and more difficult to obtain in central locations. The cost of accommodation in particular can force students to live further from campus in cheaper locations or alternatively live at home and have long daily commutes to college.
The most common accommodation type for full-time students was their parent’s home, 38% or rented accommodation also 38%. In contrast for part-time students half of them lived in their own home and 31% in rented accommodation.
The average distance from term-time accommodation to college was 15 kms, although part-time students lived further from college than full-time students. The average communting time to college was 33 minutes. Students that lived with their parents or in their own house had much longer commutes compared to renters.
Students were also asked to state the distance from their family home at time of completing secondary school to college. The average distance was 63 kms but a quarter of students lived less than 10kms from college and a quarter more than 93 kms. Students that had the longest commutes to their family home were those from low population density counties in the West and North West that aren’t currently serviced by a University. These counties included Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim and Mayo.
In the next blog I’ll discuss Social Class background of students, nationality, income and expenditure.
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