Students cannot be expected to pay full fees for online only learning
Students cannot be expected to pay the full fees when many higher education institutes are moving to online only learning according to Labour Spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, Senator Annie Hoey.
Senator Hoey was speaking after it was revealed that students will be expected to pay the full cost of €3000 in fees even though in many cases they will be forced to learn from home with infrequent access to campus.
Senator Hoey said:
“Students cannot be expected to pay €3000 for the year when some Higher Education Institutes and I suspect more will follow, have already confirmed that all learning will be delivered online in the coming year due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“How are these students expected to make ends meet when many have already taken a severe financia hitl due to the Covid crisis with many unable to avail of seasonal summer work in bars, restaurants and the tourism industry and they are now expected to pay for additional light, heating and broadband due to being forced to work from home in addition to exorbitant fees.
“Hard pressed students and their families cannot be expected to pay the fulltime cost of third level fees when they will have less than part-time access to facilities. The Minister saying he would like to see fees addressed during his tenure is will not alleviate the financial pressure on students attending college this year and he needs to do more than distribute a few extra laptops to higher education institutes. I am calling on him to immediately increase SUSI grants to support students and families who have had a significant reduction in their income this year and to bring forward the payment dates for the grants to early September.
“The Programme for Government commits to reviewing SUSI eligibility and adjacency rates, something the Labour Party has called for over a number of years. The Minister needs do that as soon as practically possible.
“Higher education providers have been saying that they need to charge the full fees in order to foot the bill for their staffing costs and this once again highlights why the new Minister needs to take action on higher education funding. Our third level institutes are chronically underfunded, the Cassells report has been sitting gathering dust for four years and students and their families cannot be forced to bear the brunt.