Thursday, 11 July 2019

Ceisteanna (306)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

306. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of a reduction of €100 to the student contribution at third-level. [31286/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Student Contribution, which currently stands at €3,000, was introduced on a incremental basis from the 2011/12 academic year.  It is important to recognise that there has been no increase in the contribution rate since 2014/15.

Based on the number of students that qualified for free fees funding in the academic year 2017/18 (and were therefore liable to pay the Student Contribution), and taking into account projected increases in student numbers, it is estimated that the annual net cost to my Department of reducing the contribution by €100 is approximately €7.64million.

It should be noted that this figure encapsulates the resulting reduction to my Department's Student Grant Scheme budget, as the exchequer pays the contribution in full or part, on behalf of almost 50% eligible undergraduate students who are in receipt of student grant assistance.

Tax relief provisions are also available so that second and subsequent siblings do not have to bear the full cost. In addition, higher education institutions have provisions in place to allow students to pay the contribution in two moieties.