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Research shows students can save up to €378 a month by choosing to live with a host family

Posted on June 24, 2019

Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) has released its annual Cost of Living Guide for students for 2019-20. The guide is designed to help those starting Higher Education in September.

Contrary to the perception that there is very little accommodation available in our cities, research from TU Dublin shows that there is widespread availability of host family accommodation, which is significantly cheaper than other options on the market. Students staying with a host family can save up to €378 per month, according to TU Dublin’s Student Accommodation Database.

Dr Brian Gormley, Head of Campus Life, TU Dublin – City Campus, noted, “Our advice to anyone who may be moving away from home is that there are affordable options available. For instance, in October 2018, when the academic year was already a few weeks old, TU Dublin still had 300 spaces available on its student accommodation database[1] – these were host family spaces which cost an average of €3,780 a year.”

For the coming year, TU Dublin has over a thousand accommodation spaces available.  Host family spaces average €140 per week, and students pay rent for fewer weeks than in Student Accommodation. 

Dr Gormley explains, “Of all the accommodation options, this is the most economical, and also offers the most flexibility. Bills are included in the cost, and many hosts also provide optional extras such as a light breakfast and evening meal. In addition, students can opt for a five-day rental agreement if they plan to return home for the weekend.  Rent in host family accommodation is typically paid for 25-30 weeks over the academic year, whereas in Campus-Style Student Accommodation the rent is typically paid for 40 weeks.  For parents, it also comes with the peace of mind that their son or daughter is living in secure housing often with a family.”

Talking about his experience of living with a host family, TU Dublin student Padraig Treanor said, “The cost of rent in Dublin made me wary at first, and I was considering commuting for the first few weeks, but I found digs through my cousin. I had a very good experience with digs, they were definitely a cheaper option, and you only had to pay for the weeks you are in college. It also allowed me to adapt to University as I was staying with a family, so the only real massive change was the location and the freedom that came with it.”

Padraig also offered some advice to incoming first-years, “I think it is key to meet people you are going to stay with before you decide. I would highly recommend digs for people moving up to Dublin; it can give you that year to make friends to find a house the following year.”

TU Dublin also reserves 500 rooms in student accommodation blocks. Weekly prices range from €99 for a shared room to €230 for a single room with an ensuite bathroom.

Dr Brian Gormley, Head of Campus Life, TU Dublin – City Campus, provided other cost-saving tips for prospective students and their families.

  • Start looking for student accommodation early, and compare prices. Availability is increasing in the student accommodation market, so look for developments opening in September 2019 who are anxious to fill their spaces.
  • Check if you are entitled to tax back on fees. If you’re paying for more than one student in full-time education, you can claim tax relief on the student charge for the second or subsequent children.  Also, if you are paying tuition fees, either for a post-graduate programme, a part-time programme or for repeating the year, you may be entitled to tax back.
  • The Child Leap Card is valid until a student turns 19, and this can reduce the weekly cost of travel by over 60%.
  • For some students it may be more cost-effective to commute, even long distances, than pay the high rental prices in the bigger cities. The Eurostudent survey showed that between 2013 and 2016, the percentage of students staying at home with parents or relatives went from 40% to 44% in Ireland.
  • Join a Society or Club – TU Dublin has dozens to choose from, and it is a great way to explore your interests while saving money, as many societies will offer discounted group activities.
  • Check out if there are scholarships, for which you may be eligible. Last year TU Dublin and the TU Dublin Foundation gave out over €500k in scholarships to students[2].
  • Look for student discounts – many shops offer discounts for students with a valid student card, so it is worth asking. Check with service providers if they have any offers available to students. Buying online you will often find better deals on clothes, music, books etc.
  • One of the simplest ways to save money is to make your meals. An excellent way to keep the cost of eating down is to plan your meals for a week by making a shopping list and stick to it. Try to vary what you’re eating so you won’t get bored and end up reaching for a takeaway app!

Cost of Living Guide for 2019/20

An additional 2,300 student accommodation spaces will become available in Dublin City this September.[3]Despite this, accommodation is the main area where prices have increased significantly.  Last year, the average national monthly rent for students was €430 while this year, the average figure has increased to €469.  In Dublin, the average figure is projected to be €574, compared with €541 last year.

TU Dublin Cost of Living Guide 2019/2020

Cost of Living for Students Living away from Home

Monthly (€)

Annual (€)

Rent (National – for Dublin see below)












Books  & Class materials









Social life/Misc.



Student Charge







Cost of living for Students living at home

Monthly (€)

Annual (€)

Contribution to Utilities









Books & Class Materials









Social Life/Misc



Student Charge






Prospective students can find information about undergraduate programmes at TU Dublin by visiting www.tudublin.ie or they can join us during our live online CAO Chat[4] taking place between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm daily from 26 June to 28 June.

* The rent figure is the mean of the National City regions single rent a room cost.  The above guide is a national guide, and the average rental figure for students in Dublin is higher at around €574. Rent in Dublin can vary widely from less than €495 per month for a shared room, up to €1,976 or more for a one bedroom unit in Dublin 2. (€574 Figure mean of Dublin region single rent a room cost)

**The travel cost is taking on the capped student LEAP fare which has remained at €30/week in an average month of 4.5 weeks.

*** Class materials and equipment cost can vary greatly, particularly for students in Arts, Sciences and Catering. For more detailed information you should contact your programme co-coordinator

**** Taken from the Money Guide Ireland (http://www.moneyguideireland.com/cheapest-mobile-phone-charges.html): “In 2016 the average spend per mobile customer in Ireland was €25.10 a month or €301 a year. Pre-paid mobile phone customers in Ireland spent half as much as bill pay customers – with average monthly prepay charges of €15.44 compared to a €34.94 monthly average for bill pay mobile customers.”


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