The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is deeply concerned that senior management in Trinity College Dublin may have reneged on an agreement with their Students’ Union that guaranteed that international non-EU and postgraduate multi-year fees would not rise.
The successful ‘Take Back Trinity’ campaign last term ensured that a Fee Certainty Agreement was secured, protecting students returning from their Summer break from huge fee increases and additional financial barriers to successfully completing College.
Síona Cahill, President of USI, reacting to the news from Trinity stated that “It appears that TCD attempted to quietly announce a 5% fee increase for students in Science, Dentistry, and Medicine – already very lucrative courses for the college. This move by TCD is totally disrespectful of their own students, demonstrating a complete lack of compassion or regard for the wellbeing of the people who come to learn in their institution.
“Again we can see firsthand the exploitative and cruel practices international and postgraduate students are on the receiving end of in Irish Higher Education. International students will be arriving back to Ireland later in the Summer and face significant barriers to accessing accommodation and affordable living with these fee increases piling on the pressure. Meanwhile postgrads are again exploited to fill Institutional coffers, disregarding the huge contributions they make to academic life.”
Shane De Rís, President of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union, stated that: “College has completely undermined the fee certainty agreement it approved by introducing these fee rises. Students, hit with this unexpected increases in their already high fees, are now unsure if they can afford to return to their studies and, indeed, to Ireland. These students have been let down once again by an administration which students had began to regain trust and faith in, following the protest period in March. TCDSU fought to protect the interests of our students then, and we will do so now again.”
Oisín Coulter, President of Trinity College Graduate Students’ Union, added that “Postgraduate and international students have been used as cash cows, with year on year fee increases and no improvement in quality or student services. Postgraduates in particular are badly affected, often already living in extremely precarious financial circumstances. It is unfair and unjust for students not to know how much their education is going to cost, or for them to be used to plug the Universities’ deficit.”
Síona Cahill further commented: “We again call on Government to act and to ensure college authorities cannot raise fees on a whim for non-EU and postgraduate students. USI advocates for a publicly funded model for Higher Education, but in the short-term the Oireachtas must legislate for fee regulation to prevent this from happening again.”
Contact: USI VP Academic Affairs Oisín Hassan: 086 816 5498
NOTES: Fees for non-EU international students and postgraduate students can be raised year-on-year, without regulation.
Last Semester the Take Back Trinity campaign successfully fought accommodation price increases, fee increases for non-EU and postgraduate students, and the introduction of supplemental (repeat exam) fees.
USI is the national representative body for the 354,000 students in third level education on the Island of Ireland. USI works to improve and protect the lives of students every day on academic and social issues through campaigns, training and research.