TD for Dublin Mid-West, Deputy Emer Higgins has welcomed ‘Funding the Future’ – a landmark policy on the future of higher education which will reduce the costs of further and higher education for students and families. Deputy Higgins said “I know that for many people in the community, the current annual registration fee of €3,000 is too costly for students and families to afford. “The cost-of-living crisis which has been exacerbated by the war in the Ukraine has been a burden on families and I’m delighted that Government is moving to start reducing the cost of the annual registration fee and make college more accessible and inclusive.
“The SUSI Maintenance Grant is also changing and was increased by €200 in Budget 2022 and the income threshold to qualify for student grants has increased by €1,000,” added Deputy Higgins. “This increase will offer direct financial assistance that will benefit around 62,000 students across the country, including those in Dublin Mid West and South Dublin and I am pleased that this extra funding will ensure that more students qualify, and more families will be supported,” added Deputy Higgins. “Continuing to invest in further education is vital and will help us meet the expectations of employers and better equip our students with the skills required to meet their full potential” said Deputy Higgins.
Speaking at the policy launch, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris TD said: “Cost cannot and should not be a barrier to accessing education. It is my firm intention to take the pressure off families and listen to the calls of our younger generations. “We settle the question on higher education funding. We will increase our investment. We will also support our students,” said Minister Harris.
Deputy Higgins continued, “Last year I was delighted to accompany Minister Harris on a visit to St Joseph’s College Lucan in my local constituency to discuss the new CAO website and the additional pathways to further education that were made available for the first time in 2021. “The direct route into University is not for everyone and its so important that students are aware of all the options that are out there from Level 8 degrees to apprenticeships and PLC courses, there’s never been more options. “And with this additional funding set to reduce the cost of the registration fee, I’m delighted to see further and higher education becoming more and more accessible to local students and families,” concluded Deputy Higgins.