Kilkenny TD's concerns over higher education funding ahead of Budget 2018

Kathleen Funchion warns rising costs are making third-level education inaccessible

Local TD Kathleen Funchion has expressed her concern that there will be no funding model for the future of higher education outlined in next week's Budget 2018.

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Education says that a timeline on the future of higher education funding is crucial for successful planning of any progressive publicly-funded model.

"The recent Cassels report recommendations implied that an increase of fees from €3,000 to €5,000 a year could be on the table as a measure to ‘create net savings to the public finances arising from the introduction of income-contingent loans’," said Deputy Funchion. 

"If significantly higher third level fees combined with a supporting income contingent loan system becomes a reality for students, we will be following the precarious path of the United States where young people are saddled with debt for the rest of their lives. This is not a progressive way to treat education or to encourage students to develop their skills.

"The ever-rising cost of third-level education has become a crippling cost to thousands of students and their families. Astronomical accommodation costs, a shortage of student lodgings and part-time work are all factors making third level inaccessible for so many."

The Sinn Fein said there has been no increase the sufficiency of core student supports while costs continue to rise. She called for education to be made a priority in the Government’s upcoming Budget 2018.

"I am highly concerned that there will be no long-term outline of a third-level funding model in next week’s budget and I support the calls by USI today for the Minister to reconsider that decision," she said.

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