Parents pay out over €400 a month to fund their child in third-level education, according to a survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions.
The survey examined financing college education, job prospects and the main concerns of both parents and students.
The second nationwide survey carried out by the ILCU found that parents are funding the majority of students’ spending.
The last survey was carried out in 2011.
Eight out of ten parents said they gave around €421 per college student per month.
Excluding rent and bills, students spend an average of €516 a month on day-to-day expenses.
The survey found that parents typically are saving on average for eight years for a college fund for their children.
There are also indications that students are trying to cut down on costs with 32% living away from home, compared to 49% in 2011.
The number of students working to fund their time in college has increased by 10% in that period.
Students say their greatest concern is not passing exams, while for parents their main worry is that their children will not get a job after college.
More than half of the students surveyed said they would choose their college course based on the current employment gaps in the economy rather than on their own interests.
The survey also found that fewer students are feeling the pressure of having to emigrate to find a job.
ILCU Head of Communications Mandy Johnston said the delay in grants being issued has meant that more parents are requesting credit union loans to cover the cost of third-level education.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ms Johnston said: "53% who are eligible for grants are experiencing delays.
"Credit unions are being used to bridge that gap. Everybody hopes there won't be a repeat this year in terms of the delay."
President of the Union of Students in Ireland Joe O'Connor said the survey highlights the financial strain that students and their families are under.
He said the increasing borrowing of parents highlighted in the survey continues a worrying trend where vulnerable families are "trapped in a spiral of more and more debt".