Simon Harris urges €3,000 tuition cut in September living package

Secondary and Higher Education Secretary Simon Harris is urging the €3,000 contribution for third-level students to be cut as part of the government’s September living expenses package.

e is seeking further concessions on student grants to come into effect in the coming academic year.

In addition to the normal budget – the benefits of which would normally not be felt until the following year – the government has committed to emergency measures to ease the financial burden of the highest inflation in four decades.

Both will be announced on September 27, two weeks before the traditional Budget Day, to accommodate the financial strain on families.

Mr Harris said the Government “was very clear that this budget will contain two elements – the normal estimation process for 2023 and more immediate cost-of-living measures. Supporting students and their families must be a part of both.”

CSO figures show consumer prices rose 9.1 percent in the year to July on higher rents and mortgage repayments, as well as increased food costs, including meat, bread, grains, milk, cheese and eggs, and increases in gas, electricity, heating oil and motor fuels.

Even before the current inflationary pressures, Mr. Harris was calling for a reduction in the €3,000 student contribution as part of a new and sustainable approach to funding higher education.

However, when the government’s strategy document on funding the future was released in May, it contained no immediate changes to the student contribution or further improvements to the student grant program beyond what had been announced in last year’s budget.

The policy document focused on increased government support for the higher education sector, announcing a planned investment of €307 million.

Mr Harris said he will drive action to reduce the cost of education through changes to the scholarship program and student contributions over time.

All changes would follow an annual review that would identify opportunities to reduce the cost of education for students and families and would serve as the basis for that year’s budget process.

The first such assessment is being finalised, but Mr. Harris is aware that a reduction in fees and benefits on student grants needs to be brought forward and included in the special September ‘Cost of Living’ package to provide immediate relief rather than to wait until 2023 for any budget changes to take effect. Simon Harris urges €3,000 tuition cut in September living package

Fry Electronics Team

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