Media Coverage of ILCU’s 2017 Back to School Costs Survey


As children enjoy their freedom from school, parents are already preparing to shoulder the burden of the back to school spend which has now averaged €1,209 per child. That’s according to the Irish League of Credit Unions latest research of its annual Back to School Costs Survey.

The nationwide survey again shows clearly that school related costs continue to be a financial burden for the majority (72%) of parents with 29% saying they will get into debt because of it. One in four say they will be forced to deny their children certain Back to School basics this year because they cannot afford them, while a significant 29% say they will get into debt over the back to school spend.

Commenting on this year’s findings, Helen Courtney Power Chairperson, Chapter 23 – Kerry and West Limerick Credit Unions Marketing Group said “It is somewhat encouraging to see that more parents than ever are funding the back to school spend through their monthly income, with a fall in the numbers getting into debt. However it’s clear that the back to school spend is still so much of a financial burden on parents that they are forced to deny their children some basic items, as well as sacrifice spending on family holidays and even food.

While the rise in numbers using moneylenders was marginal, we would find any increase like this concerning and would really encourage parents to instead talk to their local credit union, where interest rates are fair and capped by law.

She added “Credit Unions have always been on hand to provide financial assistance to parents as they try to manage these annual costs and ease the financial burden. We encourage parents who know they will need to borrow, to talk to your credit union before considering a credit card or a moneylender, our interest rates are lower and more affordable. We also ensure that the loan terms are structured in a way to suit every individual situation best”.

Key Survey Findings
– One in four parents will have to deny their children some basic school items this year as    they continue to struggle to fund the back to school spend
– The average return to school spend continues to increase and has now reached €1,209  per child – up from €1,185 last year (2% rise)
– More than a quarter say the costs will negatively impact household bills
– Almost three quarters of parents continue to see the back to school spend as a financial    burden, despite a 2% drop in the numbers getting into debt
– A substantial two thirds say they will buy foreign goods over Irish produced goods if it    means cutting costs
– Tesco has overtaken Dunnes Stores as the preferred shop for back to school supplies and uniforms.