Young people from Carlow discuss the merits of going to college locally or leaving the town for further learning.

Deciding whether to stay in Carlow to continue their education or leave and study elsewhere is the choice many young people face. But at what cost? Some young people from Carlow and the surrounding area talk about the pros and cons of going to college locally or leaving for further education.

During the discussion the point is made that some people do not appreciate the opportunities available to them in Carlow at the Regional Technical College (RTC). As a relatively small college, students easily get to know each other unlike in large universities or colleges which can be more isolating.

It's a real family atmosphere.

The problem for some young Carlow people is that the RTC does not offer the range of courses available at other colleges and they have to leave the town. In recent years, the Carlow RTC has begun to broaden the range of courses on offer and are now conferring degrees.

Debbie says that many students at the Carlow RTC are not from the area. Out of 150 computer studies students, only two are from Carlow.

The European Social Fund (ESF) grant system also plays a role in deciding where to study. Under the system, if a student travels more than 15 miles, there is more grant funding available. However, there are costs involved in travelling to study including commuting, accommodation and living expenses. A student within the 15 mile zone receives £13.52 a week and outside the 15 mile zone receives £34.32 a week if they have full attendance. One young woman says that £13.52 is not enough to cover book expenses let alone the other costs involved in going to college.

This episode of 'Facts of Life' was broadcast on 15 July 1987. The presenter is Carolyn Fisher.

'Facts of Life' was an eleven part series in which young people talked frankly on issues that affect them in their daily lives.