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Back-to-school expenses: 36% of families in debt

  • 30/07/2018
  • Author:bridgetmccall

Primary school parents have average debt of €367 and secondary school parents €443 on average.

Woman and a boy in a sitting room

A survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions has revealed that 36% of families in Ireland find themselves in debt because of back-to-school costs. These include: books, uniforms, lunches, transport, after-school care and school trips/activities.

Parents of primary school children have an average debt of €367 and secondary school parents an average debt of €443.

More parents are borrowing money to pay for the costs of the new school year and many are turning to moneylenders (which can charge yearly interest rates as high as 188%).

Overall costs have fallen somewhat since last year, with parents of primary school students spending around €1,000 (around €49 less this year than in 2017) and parents of secondary school students spending just short of €1,400 (€22 less than last year). The reduction was mainly because of falls in the cost of extracurricular activities, transport and after-school care.

Irish League of Credit Unions comments

Paul Bailey, Head of Marketing and Communications at the Irish League of Credit Unions, said (1) : “It’s somewhat encouraging that parents are reporting that costs have reduced a little since last year. But, at the same time, we are seeing increasing numbers of parents saying they are in debt and a rise in the numbers saying they are turning to moneylenders.”

Mr Bailey encouraged these parents to speak to their local credit union, even where they feel that they have a poor credit history.

You can find your local credit union by visiting the Irish League of Credit Unions website

1. Independent Ireland: Back to school: Parents forced to approach moneylenders and go into debt over costs

2. RTE news item: 36% of families in debt over back-to-school expenses - survey

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