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Donegal principal says rural students need extra financial support for third level

Declan Magee

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Declan Magee

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declan.magee@donegaldemocrat.com

Donegal principal says rural students need extra financial support for third level

The principal of one of the biggest second-level schools in Donegal has called for the introduction of measures to deal with the disadvantages that parents in a county such as Donegal face when sending their children to third level education.
Over 2,000 students across the county will receive their CAO offers this morning which will determine where they go to continue their studies.
But parents across the country have already paid deposits in the scramble to secure accommodation for students and risk losing the deposits if their child does not secure the college place they want.
The issue was raised at last month's meeting of Donegal County Council.
Now, Geraldine Diver, principal of the Abbey Vocational School in Donegal town, said there needs to be a think tank established on the issue to introduce measures which can stop third level education being available only to those who can afford the costs associated with it.
She said students and their parents are facing larger pressures than ever but those from rural counties far from the large urban centres are at a bigger disadvantage compared to those who can live at home during third level education. She called for special measures to help students and their families who are facing the crippling costs of accommodation in cities like Dublin and Galway on top of tuition fees.
“The financial side of it is brutal,” she said. “No one can really understand what parents are going through. These students are having to work part-time and if they can't get a job in Dublin they are coming home at the weekend to work. However, students who are from the big cities can live at home.
“We have to celebrate that they are such rounded kids and are well able to go away, but it has to be addressed, it is a huge issue. What families are going through to support their children through third level education needs to be addressed.”
She said financial considerations should not be a determining factor in where students go to study.
“We talk about free education and it being accessible and it is at primary and secondary level. But with third level the financial issue should not deter our bright young people from being able to fulfill their academic potential.”