Student Contribution Charge should be reduced from September
Kite Flying from Minister unfair to students with no real plan in place.
Labour Higher Education spokesperson Annie Hoey has called for a commitment from the government to reduce the fees paid by students from this September rather than dragging it out for another 18 months.
Senator Hoey said:
“Reports that the Minister for Higher Education wants to reduce the student contribution charge won’t make much difference to students if it’s delayed until the 2023-2024 academic year. Bringing it to Cabinet this month is a welcome move but it won’t have any impact on students and their families if they have to keep paying the current high fee until September 2023.
“If the government was really serious about reducing costs for students, the reduction would have been implemented in the Budget just gone, and backdated to this academic year. The cost of living for students has soared with higher rent costs, transports costs and the price of food rapidly increasing.
“For several years the Labour Party has outlined a costed plan to reduce the €3,000 student contribution charge towards eventually scrapping it, but only now are we seeing some action from the Minister. Yet, a real reduction is still over a year away. Irish students have some of the highest fees in the EU, and Labour supports a publicly funded model of higher education as outlined in the Cassells report. A well educated workforce is critical to our future economic growth, and further education should be accessible to all students irrespective of means.
“With the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure also likely opposed to any reduction it’s not clear at all how serious this plan is from the Minister.”