Sinn Féin budget will take the pressure off students – Rose Conway-Walsh TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, Rose Conway-Walsh TD, has brought forward proposals in her party’s alternative budget that include reducing fees for all and extending SUSI support to 15,000 additional students while also tackling the issue of core funding.
Teachta Conway-Walsh said:
“Students and parents are under severe financial pressure. Whether it's the fees, transport, or accommodation, the cost of studying is crippling most ordinary workers and families.
“We have seen an unprecedented student accommodation crisis forcing students to defer or commute huge distances. We have also seen food bank reopening on college campuses.
“Sinn Féin’s budget is about putting workers and families first. It is about targeting resources where they are most needed now.
“My aim in this alternative budget for students in further and higher education was to outline a way to take the pressure off them and address the decade of underfunding in our third level education system.
“Our proposals would put money back in the pocket of every student by reducing fees, increasing the supports available, and extend those supports to far more students and families.
“We have proposed reducing all undergraduate third-level fees by 500 euro as a first step to abolishing them completely. Education is a public good and should been treated as such.
“Abolishing apprenticeships fees completely. A first-year apprentice is paid less than minimum wage and works full time – they should not be asked to pay fees on top of that. We would also rapidly increase the capacity, catering for 3,800 additional apprentice places.
“SUSI support would also be extended to 15,000 additional students and families previously excluded.
“We would increase the amount of support students from low income families receive under SUSI. This would be the first time in ten years – it is sorely needed as a response to the spirally cost of living and studying. This will be done by increasing the SUSI maintenance grant by 10 percent.
“We will also extend SUSI to cover full fees for post graduate students.
“Alongside these measures to address the cost of living and studying, we would increase core funding to higher education by 180 million in annual recurrent expenditure. This would end the decade of underfunding and undervaluing of our third-level education system.
“Among other things this would allow for the construction of more publicly-owned, on-campus student accommodation.
“Students renting in the private sector would also benefit from Sinn Féin proposals to put one month’s rent back into renters’ pockets and ban increases for 3 years.
“Sinn Féin in government will deliver for students and a world class education system that will be an economic driver into the 21st century.”
Sinn Féin's Budget 'A Budget For Change' is available to view at this link