Budget 2024 will go some way to supporting students with the high cost of going to college through the various one-off measures introduced today, according to the Union of Students in Ireland.
USI welcomes the repeat of the reduction in the Student Contribution Charge by €1,000 and €1,500, the €750 tax relief for renters, the increases in the SUSI grant and the increase in the minimum wage.
As Minister Harris said in his statement, the package will put some money back in students’ pockets, however, Budget 2024 had no measures that will have a medium or long-term impact on the cost of third-level education, particularly the student accommodation crisis and USI sees that as a missed opportunity.
As student representatives it is difficult for USI to look at this Budget as anything other than an overall disappointment, as the chance to use a small percentage of the significant Budget surplus to address the student accommodation crisis was not taken.
USI President, Chris Clifford said: “There are positives for students in today’s Budget, measures that will go some way to helping students with high costs of going to college and university, and USI welcomes that.
“But students from across Ireland took to the streets of Dublin last week to demand Government uses the significant surplus to tackle the student accommodation crisis and soaring costs of going to college. And while there was tinkering at the edges, and some support given, this just didn’t happen today. As far as USI is concerned, that was a deliberate choice made by this Government.
“There were signs today that Government heard and seen our protests. They obviously know the Student Contribution is way too high, rent is a nightmare, and the supports available aren’t enough. But they haven’t done what is needed. So, we are going back to our members, we will talk to Student Union officers and students, and decide where we need to go from here. We will absolutely be keeping the pressure on.”