University grant must be protected in 2014 Budget - Crowe
With the new university year and government budget fast approaching, Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe, has called on the government to ensure that the university maintenance grant is protected from austerity cuts in the 2014 Budget.
Crowe was speaking ahead of a planned protest by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) outside Leinster House today, which is calling on the government and the Education Minister Ruairí Quinn to protect the student maintenance grant.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“I welcome the initiative from the Union of Students in Ireland who has called for a protest today calling on the Education Minister to protect the university maintenance grant from cuts in the 2014 Budget.
“I would encourage all students to actively back USI’s pre-budget ‘Fight For Your Future Now’ campaign.
“Recently the Irish League of Credit Unions released research which showed that parents are increasingly struggling to pay for their children’s third level education, and that on average it is costing parents nearly €1,000 a month to put their children through college.
“The research also found that one in 12 students will drop out of college this year solely due to the financial stress.
“Approximately half of all our university students receive some type of grant, and it is vitally important that the government does not cut the maintenance grant for students as part of its austerity 2014 Budget.
“The maintenance grant provides a crucial financial lifeline for many of these students.
“If the expected cuts do go ahead it will lead to more students having to drop out of college, solely due to financial stress, or many more not even contemplating entering university because they and their families can’t afford it.
“No student should have to drop out of college, or not avail of a third level education, because of they lack adequate financial support.
“Education should be a right open to all citizens, not just a privileged elite.”