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An expert say that Pat Kenny show on Newstalk. Now we're looking at the costs of going back to school at a very expensive time for many parents taking us through the various costs news talks. Deputy Business Editor Government Gluckman Gavin, good morning.

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Good morning, Pat. So let's go through the primary schools. First of all, what are the costs?

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So my data here comes from a big survey that the Irish League of Credit Unions did earlier in the summer. They spoke to parents all across the country and what they found is as follows.

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Four books. The average spend comes in at 114 euro per child. The school uniform, the average comes in at 110 per child.

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They're obviously the two major costs for everyone. But there are a couple of others I want to mention as well. The first is that old chestnut of the voluntary contribution, so-called voluntary.

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According to this data, 73 percent of primary schools ask for these and the average cost for that is another 110 euro. So now we are heading for 350 quid just for those three headings. Transport is another one that varies. Obviously, you might use the school bus service run by bus fare, and that's for kids live in three kilometres or more away from a school. That's another hundred quid for your ticket for the year, and now you're up to 450.

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And finally, the other one I'd mention here is after school, obviously not applicable for everyone. But, you know, you might need a childminder or an after school club. Looking at every Mormile which Gardas insights from parents, you're probably looking around 180 quid a week on average. So don't forget part.

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It's not just back to school, it's back to after school as well. And that's a very significant cost.

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Now, I bet secondary is more expensive. It's got to be. It is, yeah. And if we start with the voluntary contributions, they're more expensive. According to this data, 140 quid is the average 75 percent of schools ask for this. And obviously private schools then they have their own fees, which are enormous. The books are more expensive in secondary school, 196 quid on average per child uniforms, 171. So if you take just a voluntary contribution to books under uniforms, you're looking there at 500 euro for going back to secondary school.

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And just one other thing I'll mention here. Part is organized class trips, which are a big thing in secondary schools. Obviously, they're sprinkled throughout the year, not necessarily around now, but the average cost listed here for these is 181 euro. Very significant.

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I suppose the one thing to say is people might get a bit of a break on this this year because foreign travel, obviously, you know, probably won't be happening.

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So you can you can avoid some of the costs there.

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Now, third level, we know that the registration fee of 3000 is at the first thing, but there's more. Yeah, well, for us, there can be some small add ons.

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On top of that, you could get a student union fee or something. Usually that's kind of around a hundred quid or a little bit less.

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But accommodation, I suppose, really is the big one part. If you're living away from home and you're talking to go to five grand at a minimum for the year if you go on campus. So, for example, well, if you go on campus, it's 4400 at the minimum DCU, it's 5200. So you might say, well, look, that's very dear. What about off campus? We go for a house, HealthShare or something. Obviously, that the cost depends on the location you're in and how many people you're sharing with, but it is still quite expensive.

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So, for example, in Cork I found a five bed place close to UCC, 400 quid a month for a double bedroom. Your Corta Bills on top of that is probably another 50. And if you paid out for nine months, it's foregrounds. So not not that much cheaper. And plus, you may get locked in for the full year rather than just the college year. So then you're looking at big costs. Yeah.

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Now there are some colleges doing like an Airbnb. You don't have to be in the college accommodation for five days of the week. You might be there for the days that are relevant to your lessons. I think Desu and other colleges have done that. But that's you know, that's something that's quite specific in each location at transport.

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I mean, that can be very significant. The use of public transport, depending on how far you're travelling to college every day.

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Yeah. And particularly in the rail network, you find that the costs will vary quite widely. So, I mean, my advice to people is just make sure you get the student option. So both er and for example, to do a Tanjore and you take it for a Aatish rail, you can get Mondli tickets. So for example, if you're going into Triniti from Balbriggan, you'd be able to get a monthly ticket for a hundred quid a month.

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And just want to take on mention on third level part, which is easy to forget. A lot of people will need laptops, whether it's for remote learning or just accessing materials online, probably talking 300 quid, at least for a basic enough laptop.

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Now, there are some reliefs available that might make things a bit easier. Let's talk about primary and secondary and then go on to third level.

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Yeah, so primary and secondary. The big thing is the back to school allowance. And this is for people in receipt of social welfare payments, like, for example, jobseekers benefit are crucially now the pandemic unemployment payment.

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Now it is means tested. So it's not available to everyone. What the social. These are significant, so you get 150 quid per child aged four to 11 and for secondary school age 12 and above, it's 275 per head. Now, as I said, it is means tested.

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I won't go through all the thresholds, but say for a couple with two kids, your maximum income per week, including your main social welfare payment, has to be 643 euro and 70 cents or anything more. And you won't get it.

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I'll just add as well, the child benefit doesn't count towards the means test that is excluded so that that's not factored in.

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But to give you an example of how this can work, you've got two kids in secondary school, 13 and 15 uniform books and voluntary contribution. You're looking at a thousand quid part for those two kids, put it. That's reduced to 450 euro if you get this subsidy. So it is very significant.

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It is very significant. It's good to know it's there. What about tax relief on your fees? What about Soozie? What about the Student Assistance Fund?

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Yeah, so the fees for third level, first of all, I mean, really, it's only going to be only used here if you have more than two kids going to college.

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So there's a three grant threshold you have to pass. So if you have one student loan, you're unlikely to go beyond that threshold. But if you have to go and you do pretty OK. So to give you an example, so you've to go and you're spending six thousand on Regence registration fees, the first 3000 doesn't count, but you get 20 percent relief on the second 3000. So 600 quid back. That's that's not insignificant.

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You mentioned the Soozie Grant. If you qualify for that, you can get the registration fee paid. You can get a maintenance grant as well. Now, it's a complex enough calculation. Where you live is relevant as well. The further away you are from college, you get more money, which you can actually get as much as 6000 a month if you live far away from college and you're from sort of a very low income house.

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And I just mentioned as well, it's worth looking at something called the Student Assistance Fund. So this is separate from the Soozie Grant. This covers day to day expenses. So laptops, for example, it's run by the colleges. So if you want to take advantage of this money, go to the access office in your college. They'll sort of assess your circumstances and they will hopefully be able to give you a few ABAB that will help govern.

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McGlocklin Use Talks, deputy business editor, thank you very much for a very comprehensive rundown on the costs of going back to education new.