NUIG students to vote in referendum on reducing college costs

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Galway Daily news Galway West three seats filled

Students at NUI Galway will head to the virtual polls this Thursday to vote in a referendum proposed by the Students’ Union to reduce the student levy.

The SU is asking students to vote yes looks to remove the €100 charge that they have been paying for the Sports Centre Building, reducing the amount paid each year from €224 to €140.

The new restructured levy of €140 would allow for funding for sports clubs, societies and the Student Health Unit, the Students’ Union says.

But some clubs and societies have raised concerns about the impact the levy reduction would have on student services, access to student spaces and funding.

Clubs have raised concerns about there being no guarantee on who will make up the deficit in funding, as the new proposed levy would decrease the amount of money the Student Project Fund (SPF) receives from around €800,000 to €82,000 a year.

The SPF has provided clubs with roughly €200,000 per year over the last five years for capital investment projects.

Through this fund disability services, library services, student health and counselling have all been provided with extra funding.

On Thursday students will also be voting online to elect their three full time Students’ Union Officers for the 2021/22 academic year.

SU President Pádraic Toomey encouraged all members to “get online and vote Yes this Thursday to reduce this financial burden.

“The SU has been working on this issue for years and the time has come for change at NUI Galway,” he said.

“Not even SUSI covers the student levy and it’s a massive barrier to education. Students have been paying for the Sports Centre Building for too long – this needs to stop.”

Students’ Union Vice-President/Education Officer Emma Sweeney added: “The new levy will reduce the annual costs for students whilst also providing €2.3m for services our students really need.

“There will be increased funding for student Sports Clubs, Societies, the Health Unit, CÉIM Peer Learning, Flirt FM and the Students’ Union.

“We are asking everyone to vote Yes this Thursday to ensure money goes where it’s really needed.”