For the first time in almost three years, the Union of Students in Ireland have planned a national rally to bring attention to the discrepancy between financial assistance and the real cost of attending college in Ireland.
The USI claim that the average student grant amounts to around €3000 and falls short of a cost of attending college which our National Student Survey suggested was in the realms of €8,200 for the average student.
The rally, which is scheduled to take place on the 8th of October, will ask the Government for protection of both the Student Maintenance Grant and Back to Education Allowance in this year’s budget. Students from every college nationwide are invited to take part.
This comes in light of a campaign to get homeowners across the country to open up their houses to students, as rental prices continue to rise and leave students desperate for affordable accommodation to attend college.
Laura Harmon, President of the USI has also spoken out against the fact that the student registration fee has experienced another hike, leaving many struggling students under even more financial difficulty. The student registration fee for 2015 will amount to €3000, after last years rose by €250. The USI has labelled the increase as “outrageous”.
“The new Minister had an opportunity to put a new slant on the matter and the fact that a different direction has not been taken is disappointing but the fact that fees were going up to €3,000 by 2015 was already announced by Ruairi Quinn when he was Minister for Education and Skills”, said Harmon.
According to our 2014 National Student Survey, students contribute an estimated €1.7 billion to the Irish economy each year.