Student loans carry a high social and financial cost – Carol Nolan TD
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education and Skills, Teachta Carol Nolan, has said that the student loan model outlined in the Cassells Report is fundamentally inequitable and will present a significant financial and social cost to the state.
Teachta Nolan was speaking after the Oireachtas Committee hearing in relation to the Cassells Report.
Teachta Nolan said:
“The student loan scheme proposed in the Cassell’s report will be heavily subsidised by the state to the tune of 30% and over a 20 year period the level of debt build-up associated with the scheme will be over €10 billion.
“It is estimated that a high level of graduate emigration could increase the Government subsidy of a student loan scheme by 10%.
“Ireland currently has a high rate of graduate emigration in comparison with other OECD countries and the introduction of student loans could make this a more attractive option for graduates in order to avoid loan repayments.
“The model outlined in Cassells is fundamentally inequitable as those graduates on higher incomes will be in a position to pay off their loans quicker and at a cheaper rate.
“Meanwhile graduates on lower incomes will be facing years of repayments, potentially into their fifties.
“Fundamentally, it was acknowledged today that the introduction of student loans would not address issues affecting access to higher education, where those from lower socio-economic backgrounds and those with disabilities are significantly under-represented.
“Sinn Féin favours a public funded Higher Education system, which provides equality of opportunities for all our citizens and recognises the high social and economic dividend of a highly educated workforce.
“We put forward a package of €120 million in funding for Higher Education in our Alternative Budget 2017 to address the immediate funding needs of the sector, including an increase to core funding, a reduction of staff student ratios in the Institute of Technology Sector and additional supports for disadvantaged students and for those with disabilities.”