That’ll be €3,000, please
According to reports in the media over the weekend, the Irish government has decided, or perhaps is about to decide, to replace the current student registration charge (discussed recently in this blog) with a new ‘student contribution‘, or else that the current charge will remain but be increased substantially. All reports appear to assume that the cost to students will double from the current €1,500 per annum to €3,000.
As these reports are now circulating widely, it would make sense to place whatever plans there may be into the open so that they can be discussed and assessed. If the plan is to increase the registration charge I am opposed to it, because such an increased charge will raise funds in excess of the costs of the items they are supposed to defray, and this will tempt or force institutions to engage in opaque accounting. If what is proposed is the establishment of tuition fees, then that is (in my opinion) a step in the right direction, but the terms and conditions will need to be properly assessed and there will need to be a framework for addressing inability to pay and resulting matters.
In the meantime, Fine Gael appears to remain committed to a ‘graduate tax’, which in my view is not a good proposition.
Now that the issue has been raised publicly, it is important that the plans, if any, are properly discussed. It is to be hoped that university representatives will be properly consulted.