Credit Union Survey Reveals Back To School Costs Concerns For Parents

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ALTHOUGH we’re not even halfway through the summer holiday, back to school costs are never far from parents minds.

A new survey from the Irish League of Credit Unions shows that back to schools cost still a struggle for parents, annual ILCU survey shows more than a quarter of parents are getting into debt to cover back to school costs and it continues to be a challenge for 68% of Munster parents compared to 61% nationally.

Of those getting into debt in Munster, 39% incur a debt of over €500, higher than the national finding of 21%.

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The findings were revealed in the annual Republic of Ireland school-costs survey commissioned by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) and carried out by i-Reach Insights in May 2021, when 895 parents of school going children were surveyed.

When it comes to funding back to school, 65% of Munster parents said they use their monthly income, with 38% relying on their savings. The number of Munster parents taking out a credit union loan is up 8% to 10%, which is twice the national average at 5%, while 3.5% of parents turn to moneylenders, up from 1% last year.

This year’s survey also revealed that more parents in Munster (69%) shop online for school supplies than in any other part of the country. Better deals and saving money were the main reasons cited by respondents.

Siobhan Donnelly, Chairperson of the Marketing Group in Chapter 23, the credit unions of Kerry & West Limerick said; “We are aware that back to school costs can place huge financial pressure on families. We want to reassure parents in Kerry & West Limerick community that the Credit Union is here to help, for anyone who needs help, be it with budgeting for the back-to-school spend, or taking out a loan to help cover the costs. We understand that these costs can be financial burden.”

Siobhan continued; “Our message to our members would be to come and talk to their local credit union. We endeavour to meet parent’s financial needs and are here to lend a helping hand to cover the costs of back to school. As always, we are happy structure repayments in a way that suits individual circumstances. We are more than happy to assist anyone who might need a little extra financial assistance at back to school time.”

As a result of the schools being closed for a number of weeks at the start of the year, 37% of Munster parents think that the school calendar should be adjusted to accommodate for missed time.

While a decision on the rollout of vaccinations to school children is being considered by Government, the survey revealed 72.5% of Munster parents agree vaccinations should be offered to secondary school students with 50% agreeing they should be offered to primary school students.

41% of Munster parents cited their biggest concern about their children returning to school is the impact of a further lockdown, while 38% said they are worried about exposure to COVID 19 and the health and safety of children.

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