Seek a degree of financial security

In the absence of a student loan system in Ireland, there are flexible savings plans that could be introduced to help families pay for further education

About 80,000 Irish third-level students qualified for a grant last year. Most students and parents, however, scramble to pay the bills with savings, bank loans and gifts

Parents’ hearts must sink a little when a child with decent Leaving Certificate results gets an offer from an out-of-town university. Depending on which survey you read, it could cost anywhere from €10,000 to €15,000 for a third-level student to live away from home for an academic year.

If it is any consolation, while that sum may be daunting for families that do not qualify for a grant, my friends and relatives in ...