Trinity College's front gate, on College Green, Dublin

Trinity College Dublin and Bank of Ireland announced a new student loan initiative, ‘TCD Finance,’ yesterday. The loan plan will help students’ families cover the cost of the Student Contribution charge for undergraduates, which is currently €2,250 annually, by spreading out the cost into monthly €100 payments to the Bank of Ireland, according to the press release.

The initiative is “the first of its kind offered by an Irish university,” TCD Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast said in the release. Bank of Ireland told the Irish Times that it will develop similar plans with other Irish universities.

The loans will help students cope with annual increases in tuition costs, according to TCD Student’s Union President Ryan Bartlett.

‘TCD Finance’ results from collaboration between the Student Union and Trinity College, both of which were concerned about students’ ability to cover fees amidst the present financial climate.

“Trinity is conscious of the difficulties faced by students and their families in financing a university education as a result of the current economic downturn, coupled with the increases in the cost of the Student Contribution Charge,” Prendergast said.

The Bank of Ireland will make annual payments to the College to cover tuition, but the full cost of the loan over four years, €9,000, is approved all at once upon the student’s initial enrollment.

Bank of Ireland offers a 5.1 percent variable APR rate for the loan while the student is an undergraduate. Parents, not students, are eligible to apply for the loan, with the choice of transferring the loan to the student upon graduation.

After graduation, the APR rate returns to Bank of Ireland’s standard 9.7% variable for another three years.