Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Questions (150)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

150. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will not under any circumstances increase the student contribution charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41306/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Student Contribution stands at €2,500 for the current academic year and is payable by students who qualify under the free fees schemes. I have already signalled my intention to increase the Student Contribution by €250 each year hereafter 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 (some 40%). The Higher Education Authority (HEA) is 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 which will be able to address the continual expansion of the sector while protecting the quality of education. The HEA is continuing its work in this area and I will be advised further as this work progresses. The report will help inform decision-making as to the future funding of the sector.