Timeline crucial for the future of higher education funding - Kathleen Funchion TD
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Education Kathleen Funchion said that a timeline on the future of higher education funding is crucial for successful planning of any progressive publicly-funded third level education model.
Speaking today in support of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) annual March for Education, Deputy Funchion said:
"The recent Cassels report recommendations implied that an increase of fees from €3,000 to €5,000 a year could be on the table as a measure to ‘create net savings to the public finances arising from the introduction of income-contingent loans’.
"If significantly higher third level fees combined with a supporting income contingent loan system becomes a reality for students, we will be following the precarious path of the United States where young people are saddled with debt for the rest of their lives.
"This is not a progressive way to treat education or to encourage students to develop their skills.
"The ever-rising cost of third-level education has become a crippling cost to thousands of students and their families. Astronomical accommodation costs, a shortage of student lodgings and part-time work are all factors making third level inaccessible for so many.
"A critical point is that there’s been no increase in the sufficiency of core student supports while all these costs continue to rise. The odds are more than stacked against many students.
"Education must be made a priority in the Government’s upcoming Budget for 2018. I am highly concerned that there will be no long-term outline of a third-level funding model in next week’s budget and I support the calls by USI today for the Minister to reconsider that decision."