herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

'Overall, it's an improvement - but a lot more could have been done'

My budget THE STUDENT

James Nolan, student at DCU
James Nolan, student at DCU

james Nolan, a student at Dublin City University, doesn't think the Budget did enough for third-level students facing fees and rising rents.

But he welcomed the hike in the minimum wage.

There was no change in college fees or the grants awarded to students in yesterday's Budget announcement.

James (18) said a reduction in fees would have helped off-set the accommodation crisis facing students and he was disappointed their grant payments weren't increased.

"I'm happy that the fees haven't been raised but it would have been welcome if they had lowered them or changed the grant structure.

"I get my tuition paid, but I don't get any maintenance.

"It puts on a lot of pressure because my family is a single-income family, so I try my best to support myself," said the second-year student.

"I work two jobs to pay my rent and bills. I get paid the minimum wage in one of those, so that 50c increase will make a difference for me," he said.

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crisis

James, who is from Wicklow, rents in Artane and pays €380-a-month plus bills. "I think that my rent is going to go up soon, but there is nothing going for less than €400 ... something should have been done to help us," he said.

"A solution to the accommodation crisis would have hit the nail on the head for every student in the country."

James works 16 hours a week at a software company and does some work for the university as well.

The computer applications student is unlikely to earn more than €13,000 while studying, so he hopes to fall out of the USC bracket.

"That will only put a few extra euro in my pocket, but every little helps," he said.

"Overall, I think it's an improvement, particularly with the minimum wage increase - but more, definitely, could have been done."

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