I have already signalled my intention to increase the student contribution to €2,500 for the next academic year and to increase it by €250 each year thereafter until the 2015/16 academic year when the contribution will stand at €3,000. The contribution is paid by the Exchequer in respect of students who qualify under my Department's student grant scheme. I have no intention to go beyond the previously announced €250 increase for the students in the forthcoming Budget. The Higher Education Authority (HEA) is also undertaking a study on the sustainability of the current funding system for higher education. This study was initiated at my request and an initial report has been published. This report makes it clear that immediate work is required to prepare for a longer term approach to a system that can be maintained through a sustainable funding base capable of addressing the continual expansion of the sector while protecting quality of education. The HEA is continuing its work in this area, which will help inform the decision-making as to the future funding of the sector and I will be advised further as this work progresses.