Every day, the correspondents’ club describes how the same news story is illustrated in other countries.
In France, with the economic crisis and inflation, the cost of returning to university increased in 2023 by around 4.7%, according to FAGE, the Federation of General Student Associations. Nearly a third of them currently live in precarious conditions. We go to Italy and Ireland where the students also encounter difficulties.
In Italy, a third of students would have difficulty making ends meet
In Italy, classes have been gradually resuming since the end of September. And the demonstrations, which marked the spring, also resumed in the main student towns across the country. Unions set up tents last week to raise awareness about the cost of student accommodation. One in three students say they struggle to make ends meet with their monthly budget. It costs around 500 euros for a solo student room in Rome, and even more in Milan. Added to this are current expenses such as food, transport and around 500 euros for books per semester. The equation becomes very complicated for many students. Most depend on family income, which is 2,750 euros on average.
There are approximately 800,000 fuori sede in Italy, these young people who leave their region of origin to study elsewhere, very often from the south to the north. But only 50,000 places in university residences. The Italian government promises to increase the number of places in residences, 60,000 in the coming years, thanks to money from the European recovery plan. But this does not solve the emergency for those who are currently looking for accommodation and, in any case, we are far from the goal. He also promises to thicken the envelope for scholarships.
In Ireland, you need a minimum of 3,000 euros for a year
Ireland has assets that attract thousands of students from around the world every year. The country only has seven universities, but the quality of teaching is also a factor to take into account. Higher education unfortunately remains expensive in Ireland. You need at least 3,000 euros for a year at university at the bachelor’s level. And beyond education, life in Ireland is expensive. Among the biggest expenses for students: transportation, and especially accommodation.
The enormous housing crisis across the country obviously impacts students as well. There are no more rooms available on campus. And city apartments, whether in Dublin, Cork or Limerick, are simply overpriced. Higher Education Minister Simon Harris has spoken of an annual emergency accommodation fund of €440,000. It would be available through student unions on every Irish campus. The government has also put on the table a possible reduction of 1,000 euros for university registration fees.