14th August, 2012
As the debate surrounding the inclusion of capital assets in the third level grant means test rages on, Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association president, Gabriel Gimartin, has highlighted the fact that rural families sending kids to college in urban centres are already paying significantly more than their urban counterparts.
As outlined in the ICSA’s submission to the Capital Asset Test Implementation Group – the group which is examining the possibility of including capital assets in the third level grant means test – a study carried out by Dublin Institute of Technology estimates that it can cost rural-based students thousands of euro more per year to attend college in the capital, compared to Dublin-based students. As the tables below illustrate, that additional cost can amount to more than €4,500, in the form of additional accommodation, travel, food and utility costs.
Mr. Gilmartin said, “I would hope that Minister Quinn is not going to ignore the fact that farming families already have a huge additional financial obstacle to overcome in order to send their kids to college, compared to urban families. To include the value of their essential assets in calculating eligibility for the student grant would make that job even more difficult; impossible in some cases.”
“Any suggestion that farmers should simply liquidate their assets in order to afford third level education is ludicrous. Farm assets are not second homes, or investment properties, or luxuries of any sort. Farm assets are the essential tools of the trade, and to liquidate them would seriously impact farmers’ means of generating income.”
“There is no room for argument on this issue. Minister Quinn simply cannot entertain any proposal that would so disproportionately affect the farming community.”
Table 1 – Average cost of Living for Student Renting Accommodation in Dublin
|Elec/Gas/Bins (Public Utilities)||31||275|
|Travel (Monthly Commuter Ticket)||96||864|
|Books and materials||70||630|
Table 2 – Average cost of Living for Student Living at Home in Dublin
|Contribution to bills||29||261|
|Books and materials||52||468|