Time to take the first steps to free third level education – Funchion
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Education Kathleen Funchion TD has encouraged the government to consider Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget proposal of an at least €500 cut in the Student Contribution Charge.
Speaking as she launched the first of Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget 2019 proposals, the Carlow-Kilkenny TD said:
“CAO application figures fell from 80,568 in 2017 to 77,171 in 2018, despite very little change in the number of students sitting their Leaving Cert. This is a significant drop of 4.2% and, with recent reports estimating the annual cost of college to be in the region of €12,800, one cannot help wonder if students are simply not applying to college because they know they cannot afford it.
“Ireland, as of a 2017 European Commission report, has the 2nd highest fees in the European Union. There are 11 other EU countries whose students pay no fees whatsoever. It is possible to provide free third-level education for all students.
“Diversity of college students is vital to the economy. Having people from different cultures, financial situations, and upbringings strengthens the education and life skills students receive from the third level education. Accessible third level education not only benefits students, it benefits both the economy and society as a whole.
“In this Budget, Sinn Féin propose the government should consider an increase to core funding for higher education, increased funding to the Student Grant Scheme and the reduction of at least €500 to the Student Contribution Charge. Sinn Féin would ultimately see this Charge completely abolished.
“Sinn Féin believes in education for everyone not just those who can afford it. Sinn Féin believes in equality across social and economic classes. Sinn Féin believes education is the key to breaking cycles of disadvantage and poverty. We believe education should be free.”