Tallaght-based Sinn Fein T, Seán Crowe, responding to media reports that education minister and Labour TD, Ruairí Quinn proposes to cut grants
for masters degrees, said it sends a clear message to people on lower incomes that post graduate degrees are not for them.
The Sinn Féin education spokesperson said:
"The average fees for masters degrees are now in excess of €6000. Many universities are developing such degrees to cover the shortfall in government funding for higher education.
"There is limited prospect of university scholarships or fee reductions on these programmes. Even with a local authority grant a student will still need to raise up to €10,000 to cover living costs while studying at postgraduate level.
"Meanwhile, employers are highlighting a shortage post-graduate qualifications in many areas.
"This is a disgraceful position for any education minister, but for a Labour minister it is simply appalling."