The Union of Students in Ireland has expressed deep concern that the Irish Education Minister has directed colleges around the country to inform incoming students that they may be liable to pay tuition fees in the future.
In a letter circulated by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), on behalf of the Department of Education, colleges have been asked to inform all new students, as part of their induction, that third level fees may be re-introduced in the 2010 academic year.
The North West have two third level colleges in Letterkenny IT in Donegal and IT Sligo in Sligo.
In response to the Irish Minister’s letter, the USI is urging the people around Ireland to lobby their local TDs to ask them to reject Minister O’ Keefe’s proposals to re-introduce college fees.
The Minister’s proposals to reintroduce college fees will only further add to the devastation of Ireland’s economy.
It will significantly decrease the numbers of students being able to access third level education and inevitably force thousands of students out of Higher Education and on to the already excessive social welfare queues.
USI President, Peter Mannion, said:
“It is appalling that this Minister has pre-empted his colleagues’ feedback just weeks before they are due to submit their views on the re-introduction of Third level fees
This letter suggests that he has already made up his mind to re-introduce fees without hearing the views of the Cabinet on the matter.
Recent information shows that many TDs are opposed to fees, but it seems as if the Minister is ignoring this fact.
He does not appear interested in his colleagues’ feedback and is continuing on his quest to burden students with crippling and unnecessary debt.
Now is the time for parents and students to rally to our call and lobby their local TDs to reject any re-introduction of college fees, be it in the form of a deferred loan system or graduate tax.
It is also grotesque that, thousands of students, as part of their induction to college, will be burdened with the anxiety that they could be facing crippling debt in the near future.
The USI is fundamentally opposed to fees in any format and will fight on behalf of students and their families against any return of college fees.”