Students call for end to highest fees in EU

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galway daily news nuig students' union contribution fees
Pictured (Left to Right): Craig McHugh (USI), Pádraic Toomey (NUIG SU), Lorna Fitzpatrick (USI)

NUI Galway Students’ Union has joined students across the country in calling for an end to the extortionate €3,000 Student Contribution Fee.

The fee means students in the Republic of Ireland pay the highest undergraduate fees in the European Union.

At a socially distanced ‘Education for All’ protest outside Leinster House, student leaders asked the Government to remove the fee which is a huge barrier to education for students and their families.

Funding of public Higher Education Institutions has dropped dramatically and in the current period of economic turbulence Higher Education funding needs to be prioritised.

Students’ Union President Pádraic Toomey said that what is needed is a publicly funded system – and not a student funded system.

“Our students and their families are stretched to breaking point trying to pay the highest fees in the EU,” said Pádraic.

“In Spain students pay €750, in France they pay €170 whilst in Germany they don’t pay fees at all.

“We are calling on our members and their families to contact their TD’s to lobby for the removal of this barrier to education.”

Students’ Union Vice-President/Education Officer Emma Sweeney added that students can’t afford to pay €3,000 per year and many rely on part time jobs and the assistance of their families to foot the bill of pursuing an education.

“The current pandemic means that students have lost these part time jobs and the news that the Government will be removing PUP payments for students in September is another unacceptable blow.

“We are asking TDs to make the Irish education system accessible for all.”