A guide to student life


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A guide to student life

  1. 1. A guide to student life Daithí Mac Síthigh Education Officer Union of Students in Ireland
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Support is often provided to students by students </li></ul><ul><li>Each college has a Students’ Union , usually with some full-time officers </li></ul><ul><li>The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is the national association, with member unions across Ireland </li></ul>
  3. 3. This presentation <ul><li>College life </li></ul><ul><li>Grants and finance </li></ul><ul><li>Student activities </li></ul><ul><li>Questions? </li></ul>
  4. 4. College Life <ul><li>What’s it all about then? </li></ul><ul><li>People from different backgrounds </li></ul><ul><li>Independence and personal development </li></ul><ul><li>Improving career prospects/choices </li></ul><ul><li>Social life and entertainment </li></ul><ul><li>Is there something else? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Education! <ul><li>Learning new skills </li></ul><ul><li>New challenges for you </li></ul><ul><li>Less supervision, more initiative needed </li></ul><ul><li>Keep up with your work! </li></ul>
  6. 6. Living? <ul><li>Four choices: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Live at home </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Live in “digs” or with family </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Live on campus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Live in private accommodation (rented) </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Working? <ul><li>Many students have part-time jobs </li></ul><ul><li>Questions to ask: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it interfering with your studies? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are you getting a good deal – is there a union? Are you paid a fair wage? Minimum wage is €7.65 (less if without experience) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is your workplace accessible? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can you get experience related to your course? </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Talking about money: fees <ul><li>Most students don’t pay tuition fees </li></ul><ul><li>Exceptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Part-time students have to pay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-EU students pay high fees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If repeating a year, you’ll have to pay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students who don’t get a grant pay a ‘registration fee’ of €775 per year </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Talking about money: grants <ul><li>Government gives money to students based on income: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If born before 1 st January 1982, their own (unless living with parents) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If born after 1 st January 1983, their parents </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You apply to the local authority (county council) where you lived in October 2004 (i.e. last year!) </li></ul>
  10. 10. How much? <ul><li>€ 3,020 if home address is >15 miles from college </li></ul><ul><li>€ 1,210 if within 15 miles </li></ul><ul><li>If you don’t qualify for a full grant, you can get a percentage (75%, 50%, 25%) </li></ul><ul><li>If you qualify for any grant, you don’t pay the registration fee </li></ul>
  11. 11. How do you qualify? <ul><li>Look at income during 2004: full grant if less than €35,485, limits higher for large families or if brothers/sisters are in college </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t count child benefit, disability allowance (for the student), etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Paid by cheque, in three instalments </li></ul>
  12. 12. The “Top-Up” grant <ul><li>If income in 2004 is less than €15,626, and receiving social welfare payments (e.g. one parent, widow’s pension, disability allowance, old age pension, community employment scheme), your grant is higher: </li></ul><ul><li>€ 5,355 for students >15 miles away </li></ul><ul><li>€ 2,145 for less than 15 miles </li></ul>
  13. 13. How to apply <ul><li>Closing date 31 st August , but apply anyway </li></ul><ul><li>To your local authority (city or county council) - where you lived last October </li></ul><ul><li>Form is long, and needs tax/income information </li></ul><ul><li>Contact your Students’ Union or USI for further help </li></ul>
  14. 14. Other payments <ul><li>Fund for Students with Disabilities: administered by your college </li></ul><ul><li>Disability Allowance can be kept while you’re at college (anyone over 16 can get this, but means tested). Includes free travel pass </li></ul><ul><li>Medical cards – if you get disability allowance, or your parents get a medical card (if you’re under 25), you qualify </li></ul>
  15. 15. BTEA (Back to Education Allowance) <ul><li>You qualify if you’re: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 18 and on Disability Allowance for 15 months, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On Disability Benefit for 3 years, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Under 21, on unemployment for 15 months, and out of education for 2 years, or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 21 and on unemployment/one parent/etc for 15 months </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What do you get? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maximum social welfare payment (i.e. not means tested) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Once-off payment of €254 at the start of the year </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Talking about fun…. <ul><li>Student activities include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clubs (sports) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Societies (various) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publications (newspapers, magazines) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Voluntary work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(e.g. St. Vincent de Paul) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students’ unions </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Clubs and Societies <ul><li>E.g. athletics, chess, soccer, hurling </li></ul><ul><li>Societies are very diverse – debating, history, drama, political parties, course/class societies </li></ul><ul><li>Generally run by students </li></ul><ul><li>For ISL users: is there a Sign Language Society? If not, set one up? </li></ul><ul><li>Demand accessibility; get advice from the Students’ Union or the Disability Service </li></ul>
  18. 18. Students’ Unions <ul><li>All students are members </li></ul><ul><li>Provide services (such as shops, entertainment, travel office, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Representing you through class reps, being on committees, speaking out etc. </li></ul><ul><li>What can you do? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be a class rep </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seek better supports for Deaf and hard of hearing students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask your officers to work for a better college or university </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Who to go to? <ul><li>Education Officer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exams, course problems, any academic issue </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Welfare Officer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal issues, finance, accommodation, jobs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Disability Rights Officer / Officer for Students with Disabilities </li></ul>
  20. 20. Remember… <ul><li>Do try new things, and get involve </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or help </li></ul><ul><li>Do plan ahead financially and know your rights and entitlements </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget that you have exams and assignments! </li></ul><ul><li>Do make the most of your time as a student! </li></ul>