Dr Jim Browne, the retiring NUI Galway (NUIG) President claims the idea of free college fees is simply “naive” and students at Irish universities should pay nearly double the tuition.
According to The Independent, Dr Browne said that students will pay their tuition with a student loan scheme, leaving them with debts of €24,000 by the time they leave college.
In an interview with the Sunday Independent, Dr Browne states free fees is a “non-starter”. “There is no such thing as ‘free fees’; somebody pays – either the taxpayer or the student.” he claims in the Sunday Independent. But thinks students should still be allowed to use a grant payment scheme like SUSI.
According to a recent report by the European Commission, third-level students in Ireland pay the second highest fees in Europe, falling just under the UK at the top charging students up to €10,000 a year.
While students studying arts and business may pay €5,000 a year, Dr Browne suggests courses that require equipment, like STEM, should be charged more.
With emphasis on the taxpayer Dr Browne believes his proposal is achievable, “We rightly aspire to high participation rates in higher education but the taxpayer cannot shoulder the full burden.”