USI Highlight the Barriers That Students Still Face with 2020 Just Around the Corner
With the second highest fees in the EU and soaring rents, students are facing barriers to their education every day.
Currently in Ireland, students are forced to pay €3,000 for their student contribution fee, while rents are rising at a staggering rate [In Dublin, rent for purpose-built student accommodation costs over €800 per month]. The national student movement have deemed it unacceptable for the Government to expect students to be able to afford this, and have on countless occasions lobbied TD’s and Senators to alleviate these costs through the implementation of publicly funded higher education, building affordable accommodation and adequate rental protection legislation.
As part of the ongoing campaign to ‘Break the Barriers’ to higher education, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) are highlighting the barriers that still remain for students as we head into this festive period. Many doors are still shut for students who are trying to access education, locking them out of their right to a third level education. This December, many students are trying to take any extra work they can get in order to get by to make the costs that attending college brings instead of focussing on their exams and assignments.
USI President Lorna Fitzpatrick spoke on this:
“Today we are highlighting the fact that while the festive period is an expensive time for most, students are being put in debt every month of the year in order to pay for their education. We have seen little to no accountability being held by landlords and private developers for the prices they are charging for student accommodation and no reduction to the student contribution fee whatsoever. It is time that the Government put serious plans in place to create an affordable education system for all, before the system crumbles.
However we have had some great wins this year; the reinstatement of the Gaeltacht Grant was introduced in Budget 2020 after many years of hard work and lobbying efforts by USI, we welcomed the allocation of €2 million for mental health services in campuses across the country after the publication of the USI National Report on Mental Health in Third Level Education and the €2 million additional investment to the Residential Tenancies Board is a positive step which will support the RTB to exercise its greater powers in enforcing regulations. Though this is not enough to create a sustainable future for higher education, we will continue to campaign and fight on our members behalfs until we have broken the barriers to education.”