USI Calls on Government to Protect Education in Pre-Budget Submission

USI Calls on Government to Protect Education in Pre-Budget Submission

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) launched its pre-Budget submission, entitled “Ireland’s Future Starts Here”, today (October 22nd).

The major focus of the submission is USI’s call on the Government to protect Higher Education in December’s budget.

In its submission, USI highlights the importance of capping the Student Services Charge (Registration Fee), which has already increased by 689% percent, from €190 to €1500, since its inception.

At the beginning of the last academic year the Student Services Charge was increased by €600, directly putting additional financial pressure on students and their families. USI is very concerned that any additional increase in the Registration Fee will result in huge numbers of students being forced out of education.

USI also emphasises the importance of protecting the student maintenance grant from any further cuts. Thousands of students are heavily reliant on financial assistance in the current downturn, and additional cuts over the 5% announced in Budget 2010 would simply end their Third Level education.

The national students’ union has also urged the Government to allocate an extra €1.2 million to the Student Assistance Fund.

This €5 million fund is co-founded by the exchequer and the European Social Fund. The fund provides a lifeline to students most at risk of dropping out of college for financial reasons: students from single parent families, those from traditionally under-represented groups like mature students, students with disabilities and access students.

USI has also renewed its call on the Government to implement a graduate internship programme. Thousands of graduates are now unemployed and being forced to move abroad in search of work in the current recession.

It is vital that we take measures to keep our graduates in Ireland and utilise their skills in re-igniting the economy.

USI is urging the Government to seriously consider the education and future of thousands of young people in Ireland when drawing up December’s Budget.

USI President, Gary Redmond, said:

“Over the last number of months there have been persistent rumours of a doubling of the Student Service Charge to €3000 in the Budget. Despite persistent calls from USI the Minister for Education has revised to rule out a huge hike in the Registration Fee. Many students are already struggling to pay the current fee of €1500, so any further hike will simply cut short their Third Level education. It will also prevent thousands of other disadvantaged people from entering college in the future.

Similarly, any reductions to the student maintenance grant would only render Higher Education inaccessible to thousands of people in Ireland. Furthermore, many students, who are utterly dependent on the grant, will be forced to drop out of college.

Almost 91,000 high-skilled graduates are now unemployed and considering leaving Ireland for work. How can we restore our economy while our graduates are emigrating to find jobs? Ireland needs their skills and training to pull this country out of the recession.

We are the future of the Irish nation. We are the taxpayers of tomorrow. We are calling on the Government to Protect Education in the upcoming Budget to allow Ireland to continue to produce world-class graduates who will reignite the smart economy.”

Ends

One Comment

  1. Zahaira says:

    HI,

    Is there any tickets left for the march?

    Thanks Z

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