“Free education simply does not exist”

According to CEO Bernie Moran, loan applications related to back-to-school fees at Roscommon Credit Union have increased significantly.

Since early August, Roscommon Credit Union has lent €60,000 in back-to-school loans.

Last year at this time, these loans amounted to only €3,000.

“Back to school in 2022 certainly sees increased pressure on parents and families this year, Ms Malone said.

“At all four of our branches, our staff tell us they are listening to members who are feeling the pinch, certainly from inflation and the cost of living this year taking money away from them.

“Back to school always puts a bit of pressure on families, but certainly in 2022 we’ve seen increased pressure on parents.”

The amount of loans in 2022 and withdrawals to cover tuition fees are also larger, according to Ms Moran.

She said applications would usually start between €500 and €1,000, but now start at €1,000 and increase up to €1,500, depending on the number of children in school.

Bernie Moran said parents are under increased pressure this year

The trend at Roscommon Credit Union mirrors what is happening in many other credit unions, according to the Irish League of Credit Unions.

Fergus Halligan, father of three, is a member of Roscommon Credit Union.

“Free education just doesn’t exist, I’m afraid,” he said.

“You just have to pay; between uniforms, books, you name it. It doesn’t stop there. When they go back to school and you’ve done all the initial work, it continues.

“Every mom and dad will tell you…you get a text once a week or once a fortnight for x amount of money for such and such.”

In July, the government increased the means-tested back-to-school clothing and footwear allowance by €100, meaning those who qualify will now receive €260 per child aged 4-11 and €85 per child over 12 years old. .

This will benefit 150,000 families.

The Department of Education has also waived fees for those using the school bus program in the upcoming school year. It is also a one-off measure that will allow some families to save up to €500.

But many parents will not benefit from these measures and will have to bear the costs themselves.

Parents shopping for school supplies in Galway city at the weekend were feeling the pinch.

“It sure is the pressure,” said one father. “There are a lot of other costs per minute, especially if you have a large family.

A mother who had two children in college and a third starting secondary school this year said the cost of books, uniforms and shoes “is going to add up”.

Another mother accompanied by her daughter said that everything was going up.

“Just more expense on top of the price hike for everything else,” she said.

“The food and electricity bill next week is going to be astronomical.”

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