The latest increase in student fees will leave parents faced with difficult decisions as to whether they can afford to put their children through college.
That’s according to the President of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, who said the latest budget has again failed students.
As part of Budget 2013, the Student Contribution Fee will rise by a further €250 to €2,500 per annum, while the €300 Cost of Education Allowance has been scrapped. While the maintenance grant has escaped cuts, the qualifying threshold for the maintenance grant has been raised by three per cent – a move that is expected to affect around 6,500 students.
NUI Galway SU President Paul Curley said that Budget 2013 has left students and their families facing a stark choice.
“With the increase of fees by an extra €250, parents are now having to make a decision whether they can afford to put their son or daughter through college for three or four years,” said Mr Curley.
Mr Curley said it costs, on average, €10,000 to put a student through college and many families could simply not afford that anymore.
“In a public meeting regarding fees, one parent talked about her choice between which child she’d send to college because she couldn’t afford to send her two children to college,” he said.
Mr Curley said the Students’ Union welcomes the fact that maintenance grant payment escaped cuts, but expressed concern at the three per cent rise in the income threshold, a move that will affect eight per cent of the estimated 80,000 grant recipients.
“Some will receive reduced grants and others will not qualify for a grant at all,” explained Mr Curley. “This is coming after the debacle with the SuSi system, which left thousands of students waiting on vital assistance, and it’s just an extra blow.”
Mr Curley said the Budget and all recent budgets had failed students.