extract from Article in Irish Independent 18.12.13
The president of University College Dublin (UCD) has warned that the return of higher fees for third-level students cannot be put off any longer. Dr Hugh Brady said the ongoing reduction in state funding to higher education was in danger of putting quality at risk and would see Ireland losing its best students, as well as its international reputation.
Brady made his comments in an exclusive interview to the Irish Independent ahead of his retirement from the helm at UCD, Ireland's biggest university after a 10-year period. This year, college students are paying a contribution of €2,500, which is set to rise to €3,000 in 2015, but it does not compensate for ongoing cuts in state funding to third-level.
Currently, there are no plans to increase the student contribution beyond €3,000, but the issue will come centre-stage again in the new year with a discussion paper on third-level funding.Third-level colleges are facing the double challenge of increasing student numbers, while at the same time being given reduced State financial support. There is broad agreement that more funding is required, but the question is who pays.
Above: University College Dublin [UCD]
Dr Brady said the decision on funding third-level "has been put off for almost a decade and you have to look what logically happens if you continue to shrink the state investment". He added: "Quality suffers and if quality suffers you lose Irish students but also your reputation, and Ireland cannot not afford for its global reputation to take a knock." In the past five years, state funding per student has dropped by about 30pc and Dr Brady said it was hard to see a reversal of those cuts. He said the time had now come for a higher contribution by students.