Thinking of Heading to College in September?

With the Leaving Cert well and truly underway, the next step for many students is on to college. So we have put together information that everyone contemplating college next year should take into account. In this post, we are paying particular attention to accommodation. For many of our members, the first ports of call will be to University College Cork or Cork Institute of Technology. However, others will be looking further afield for the course they want to study, which inevitably means a need for accommodation. It is an exciting time in a young person’s life and for many it is their first taste of independence. The importance of a student’s accommodation for their college performance and experience has been highlighted numerous times.

The Facts

The number of people attending college has never been higher and it’s a trend that is set to continue. This growth coupled with the shortage of housing is creating huge pressure on student housing availability. Total enrolments for the last academic year were a staggering 214,694 and over the past five years alone there has been a 4% increase. From these numbers, it is easy to see the strain being placed on student accommodation.

According to’s most recent report on rental properties, there has been an average increase nationwide of 9.3%. The average rent is €998 with cities having the highest rates (where the colleges are mostly located). Paying for accommodation is one of the largest expenses that students face. The average prices outlined below have been taken from the same report.

Price of accommodation per month;

Dublin; North City: €1,365   City Centre: €1,455  South City: €1,581

Limerick City; €792

Waterford City; €687

Galway City; €900

Cork City; €1,003searching

These cities have seen increases of 16% on the previous year due to the lack of rental properties available. It must also be taken into account that a minimum deposit is a usually a months rent and an academic year is 9 months.

It can be an expensive but important time for young adults with new responsibilities and for many it’s their first steps on their career path. St. Michael’s Credit Union are here to support members, as we have been for over 50 years! Feel free to pop into the office to talk about a loan that suits you at affordable rates. You can also use our website to get an estimate with the Loan Calculator. Some of the benefits of getting a loan with us;

  • You can pay off your loan early, make additional lump sum repayments or increase your regular repayments, without a penalty. Other lenders may charge you extra for paying them back faster!
  • Once you are eligible for a credit union loan, repayment terms can be designed around your needs.
  • Repayments are calculated on your reducing balance, so you pay less interest with each repayment.
  • There are no hidden fees or transaction charges.

Tips On Viewing Accommodation

When viewing a property there are a few key things to take into account;

  • It is important to know your rights as a tenant and they can be found here; rights and obligations.
  • Don’t just settle for the first place that you find, it’s important to shop around even in the current market and find the best accommodation that suits you.
  • Read you lease agreement carefully and make sure that the specific length of time you plan to live there is clearly stated. Most private landlords look for residents to commit to a yearlong lease, while university run accommodation and landlords on a university’s list will usually accept a 9-month lease (the full academic term). If you are unsure of anything in the lease, contact the accommodation office of your college to clarify. They will be more than happy to help!
  • When viewing a property check for the following; dampness, mould, electrical faults, broken facilities or furniture, heating system and anything else that’s important to you. If the property is cold and damp in August/September you can bet that it will be freezing come winter!
  • Once you move into a property make sure to take photographs especially anything that you consider damaged. If you can include the time and date that’s even better. These might come in handy if there are any future disagreements.
  • If requested a landlord must supply a rent book and this can be used as evidence if there is a dispute over payment.
  • The withholding of deposits can be an issue at the end of the year, this is when the photographs come in handy! Threshold is a free service that can also be contacted during a dispute.
  • Be clear if utility bills are included in the rent or not. If they are not included it is important to organise the payment of bills quickly.

Where to Look

Searching for accommodation can be a daunting task but most third level institutions have their own lists of properties and landlords. College and universities will have an accommodation officer who is there to assist students so don’t be afraid to make use of them if needed. There are  websites such as and, and local letting agents.student

Many first year students chose to live in student complexes as they are often less hassle and are designed for students. They are a great way to get to know people and to get your bearings around the college. However, they are usually not paid on a monthly or weekly basis but on the college semesters. With the first payment at the beginning of the year and the second half of the payment needed around Christmas. Additional college accommodation information can be found on the links below;

If you would like to compare the accommodation to those for Cork colleges;

It is important to pick an accommodation that best suits you and your budget. We are here to help with financing the next step in your education and career!



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