Sligo Students stage vigil for third level education

 Today a number of representatives from Sligo’s colleges staged a vigil for third level education outside the office of TD. Jimmy Devin’s. The vigil was to signify the death of third level education and the once sought after smart economy. With news breaking last week that one in five are still waiting to receive their grants many students are struggling to put themselves through college with many being forced to drop out. In a report last week Sligo VEC was quoted as having one of the highest number of applications left process and it is no wonder with the cuts to staff in their offices, but again students are suffering because of the cuts.

Added to this is the pressure is the proposal that net year there will be an introduction of the €2,000 student contribution charge to replace the current €1,500 registration charge. This charge is leaving the gate open for future increases in this rate which is really third level fees through the back door.

IT Sligo Students’ Union President Breffni Gorman said:

“We all know desperate times call for desperate measures and as students we realise what kind of times we are living in, but forcing people out of education and into the dole queue is not the way to go. If we want to take the country off its knees we should be investing in our younger generations, investing in their education and not forcing them to flee the country, what is a country without its younger generation. It is a daily reality now on campus to hear of people talking about leaving for countries like Australia and Canada because of the promise of work. Increasing the financial strain on students and their families is not the way to go  and if the government is looking for cuts they should look to the wages of the fat cats that got us into this mess in the first place”

The vigil comes after the announcement of the Governments four year plan which directly affects third level students as it introduces a student contribution charge, cuts the non pay grant and decreases to the minimum wage. This is on top of the current grant shambles that sees VECs like Sligo struggling through their grant applications processed and one in five eligible students still waiting to receive any kind of grant payment.

Click here for photos of the event

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