The cost of becoming a teacher has been highlighted in a survey carried out by the Union of Students of Ireland.

Publishing the report this morning, along with ICTU and individual teacher trade unions, the USI called for student teachers to be paid while undertaking work placements in schools.

It said its online survey of more than 3,000 student teachers found that 42% had considered dropping out because of the financial pressures associated with completing their courses.

Student teachers are required to spend a minimum of 100 hours working as a teacher in a school over the course of their four-year programmes. This includes at least one block period of at least ten weeks.

The unions say student teachers should receive financial support while on placement, to cover the cost of travel, accommodation, materials, and food. They have also proposed that students be paid 80% of the entry level teaching rate while on placement.

They have called for the reinstatement of subsidies to help pay the cost of mandatory Gaeltacht stays for student teachers.

Undergraduate student teachers pay €750 twice to attend two-week Gaeltacht courses. A subsidy which had reduced the cost to €250 was removed in 2012.

The USI study cites a May 2012 working group report to the Teaching Council which warned that the withdrawal of Government funding for the Gaeltacht teacher placements "may deter persons from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds from enrolling on programmes".

According to the survey two thirds of student teachers rely on their parents as the main source of financial support.

This is double the number who cite the state 'SUSI' grant as their main support. 70% say they work part-time during work placements, and many cite the €1,500 cost of the Gaeltacht fee as the main factor for this.