**** NO REPRODUCTION FEE **** 03/09/2014 : DUBLIN : Pictured at the Union of Students in Ireland pre-budget submission and education policy platform for the coming year was USI members Eve O’Connorr, Kieron Pierson and Ruth Doran. Union of Students in Ireland calls for protection of student supports. The Union of Students in Ireland has today (Wednesday 3 September) launched its pre-budget submission and education policy platform for the coming year. At an event in Temple Bar’s Smock Alley Theatre, the national student movement outlined a wide-ranging set of budget proposals and issued an invitation to members of the Oireachtas to advocate for the improvement of students’ lives. At the heart of the organisation’s pre-budget submission is the pressing need to maintain the level of the student maintenance grant, which has come under pressure in recent years. Speaking ahead of the event, USI President Laura Harmon said: “Education is too expensive. Too many students and prospective students are worrying about whether they can afford to go to college. The level of the grant as it stands today gives opportunity to the least well-off candidates in the country to attend third level education and develop skills for life. Cutting the grant or shifting the thresholds downwards would certainly price even more students out of education – and that means pricing students out of a future.” In addition to the release of the pre-budget campaign, USI confirmed the date for a national rally for education on 8 October 2014. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Ben Archibald, USI: 085 849 0065 / Laura Harmon, USI President: 086 173 8455 (available for pre-records today)