THIRD level students could be facing a cash crisis after Christmas because of a lack of part time jobs due to Covid-19.
That is according to the student budget advisor at UCC, Cian Power.
He said the lack of part time jobs due to Covid public health restrictions could result in difficulties for people in paying rent and other expenses.
And he said students will also be affected by family financial difficulties in situations where one or both parents are unable to work because of the pandemic.
He said: “What I would be worried about is what the situation will be like after Christmas. Will there be enough supports there for students who would usually have worked over Christmas but can’t this year? I am also concerned that a lot of the funding around for the first term of the college year will not be available to someone in the second term. What supports will there be for students?”
He also outlined that students on practical courses including medicine, nursing and childcare will be on work placements which will not be paid but they will not be able to work in other jobs to get an income because of Covid restrictions and closures.
He acknowledged that some students are receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment but raised concerns that this may not continue. The Central Statistics Office released statistics showing that 8.1% of PUP recipients are students.
Mr Power said there is a demand at present for the student assistance fund but that there is not a marked increase on this yet this year.
But he said: “What we are seeing at the moment is students who have complex issues, including repeat students who were affected by Covid, either having it or having to self-isolate, or had to cocoon because of having pre-existing conditions. Many had to defer or repeat.
“As a result, they have had to go through the SUSI process again and that is tough.”
He explained that the fresh applications needed proof such as medical documents to prove why they needed to defer or repeat.
Mr Power said international students attending UCC are also being seen by the budget advisory team.
He explained: “A lot of these students would have been working part time ordinarily, or expecting to get part time jobs but things have changed because of Covid. There are so many complexities.”
He added that the laptop loan scheme had good uptake in UCC.