HEA figures confirm students from less well-off families being denied access to third level education
March 21, 2013
Commenting on data released this week from the Higher Education Authority, which shows a rise in the numbers of third level entrants from the top three socio-economic backgrounds, Sinn Féin education spokesperson, Jonathan O’Brien has said government third level policies were perpetuating a two-tier education system.
Describing the findings which also show a drop in college entrants from less wealthy backgrounds as “unsurprising and very worrying”, the Cork North Central TD said that it was shameful that a Labour Education Minister was implementing policies that made access to third level unaffordable for people from low income backgrounds.
He continued: “The data supplied by the HEA confirms that government cuts in student grants, and the annual increases to fees is acting as barrier for people from low income backgrounds wishing to access third level.
“Conversely, there was a marked increase in the numbers of students attending college whose parents were employed in higher professions or managerial positions. When the data is broken down in terms of socio-economic groups surveyed, those from the top three socio-economic groups were also shown to have the greatest migration from non-universities to universities.
“What these findings show is an alarming trend where having the right to participate in third level education is becoming increasingly dependent on a family’s income.