I take it the Deputy's question relates to fees for part-time students undertaking undergraduate courses at our higher education institutions funded by the State. The HEA Eurostudent Survey 2005 found that students who are availing of part-time studies tend to do so as part of their career development (some 69% are in studies closely related to their job) and/or with employer support. Around 33% of students paying course fees received financial support from their employer. Tax relief is available for these costs.
To increase the levels of workplace learning and upskilling, this Government is committed under Towards 2016 to putting in place a targeted fund to alleviate the fees in public institutions for part-time courses at third level by those at work who have not previously pursued a third level qualification. The HEA have been asked to develop and submit proposals, including estimated costs, in relation to this commitment for evaluation by my Department.