Students are 'flocking' out of Ireland due to lower costs of living, higher wages and better opportunities elsewhere.
That's according to recently-graduated student Harry McCann, who was responding to a new study showing students living away from home could face up to €14,000 in costs for the upcoming academic year.
Increasing rents and food prices are leading to a likely rise in living costs, according to the Technological University (TU) Dublin Student Cost of Living Guide.
The figure of €14,000 is up from around €12,000 in the 2019-2020 academic year.
Harry told The Hard Shoulder students can get more for less elsewhere.
"We had this conversation a few months back on Newstalk about this, and it was the fact that I think a lot of students - a lot of younger people - feel they've kind of been left behind.
"And the opportunities here aren't as great as the opportunities elsewhere.
"The same conversation that always comes back about this is that 'If you feel like you need to leave, just leave' - but at the end of the day, it shouldn't be the case and shouldn't be necessary.
"Students are flocking out of the country because wages are higher elsewhere, the standard of living is better elsewhere and the opportunities are greater."
'Highest rental in Europe'
Harry says everyday essentials cost students more in Ireland than most other EU countries.
"I think any student who has put themselves through college in the last few years will not be surprised by the idea that it was, at one stage, somewhere close to 12,000 - they reckon now it's going to be €14,000.
"With the price of fees, accommodation and everything else in between it's not a surprising figure really.
"We pay more for food than the EU average here in Ireland, we pay more for transport than the EU average - rental prices increase every year for student accommodation too - we've some of the highest rental costs in Europe.
"Our utility bills are the highest in the EU, our car prices are third-highest in Europe.
"All these things add up over time, and unfortunately a lot of students end up working minimum wage jobs due to being underkilled - and not having the time to work full-time obviously.
"It's just one of many different things".
And he says wrangling over student accommodation is also hurting the situation.
"A lot of what we have now is what we call luxury student accommodation, so the Government are giving huge access to these luxury student accommodations to come in and set up.
"They cost a fortune to live in, and then the fees haven't gone down at all - we pay the highest in Europe at the moment.
"It's one thing after another and unfortunately there's very little break in between".
Citing the Netherlands as an example, where his sister goes to college, he says: "The government over there halved the prices of their students fees this year to allow for COVID mishaps, and to give students a financial break.
"But there's very few financial breaks ever given to students here unfortunately".