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Colleges told to keep students informed to enable them to plan

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae has raised the matter with Minister Simon Harris

KERRY parents of third level students are being left seriously out of pocket after paying large deposits for accommodation which may not be needed due to the blended learning approach of colleges brought on by the Covid-19 crisis, a Kerry TD has highlighted.

In some instances, families who receive no grant support are being asked to pay a first instalment deposit of €4,100, by the beginning of August, to secure accommodation.

This is despite the fact that it might not actually be needed the as some colleges will opt for an online approach which may see the student only attending the college one day a week, Deputy Michael Healy-Rae has pointed out.

“Due to the fact that many students have not being able to work due to Covid-19, they are now once again over depending on their family for financial support,” he said.

“Parents will always do the very best that they can do for their children to attend college but at a time when accommodation has never been more difficult to source, and never more expensive, is it really fair to ask parents to pay for accommodation that they might only need for one night a week,” the Kerry TD asked.

He asked the newly appointed Minister for Higher Education, Innovation and Research, Simon Harris, to ensure a clear and consistent approach on the return to third level for students, at least during first semester is provided immediately.

Deputy Healy-Rae said there is a need for clear timetables and direction from all third level institutions on how they will deliver their learning to enable parents and students make informed decisions about accommodation.

“Currently many are being put through unneeded distress at a time when many may have already lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 crisis,” he remarked.

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