Written Answers. - Third Level Fees.

Bernard Allen


61 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Education and Science if, further to Parliamentary Question No. 342 and in view of the fact that third level institutions did not seek a 69% increase in registration fees, and in order to ensure value for money, his Department will obtain individual institutional details on the way in which this funding is allocated and spent. [21724/02]

The charge referred to by the Deputy is levied by third level institutions to defray the costs of examinations, registration and student services. The increase in the charge brings the amount contributed by students more into line with the cost of providing these services. My Department does not have the institutional details on how this funding is allocated.

In January 1998 the Higher Education Authority issued to the publicly funded third level institutions a framework of good practice for the provision of student services within the charge. Particular reference was made to the principles of transparency and accountability. The framework consists of guidelines to establish an appropriate system of consultation with students in the allocation of funding from the charge and in the determination of student services to be funded from this source. In relation to the issue of transparency, the framework recommended that each institution should provide information as to the allocation of the charge towards examination, registration and towards student services on an annual basis.
In 1999 the Higher Education Authority reviewed the consultative and decision making procedures in place in the third level institutions in relation to the charge and advised my Department that it was satisfied that all third-level institutions have endeavoured to put in place arrangements that the Higher Education Authority considered to be appropriate.
In the circumstances I do not consider it appropriate to involve myself in the day to day operational details of third level colleges.