Written answers

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Department of Education and Science

Third Level Fees

10:00 am

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Dublin South East, Labour)
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Question 102: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the amount that will be raised by replacing the student services charge at third level with a flat higher education contribution of €2,000; the funds that will be raised by applying a €200 charge for post-leaving certificate students; if she will also provide each figure net of the amount that will be offset by student grant assistance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47200/10]

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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The total additional revenue that will be generated by Higher Education institutions by replacing the existing €1,500 per year Student Services Charge with a flat Higher Education Student Contribution of €2,000 with effect from the 2011/2012 academic year is estimated to amount to some €55 million. Of the additional €55m, the contribution that will be paid by the Exchequer in respect of students who qualify under the third level grant schemes will amount to some €28m. The new Student Contribution will apply to all students who currently benefit under the 'free fees' scheme. In addition, higher education institutions will be asked to put in place arrangements under which a student may opt to pay the contribution in two equal instalments of 50% in September and 50% in January in a given academic year.

The overall net additional revenue will be reduced by virtue of the commitment to increase the current higher education grants schemes threshold to provide for an additional eligibility category of support qualifying for '50% Student Contribution' and the arrangements to provide that second and subsequent siblings from a single family will not have to bear the full increased cost of the new €2,000 contribution. Whilst it is not possible to provide a precise calculation, it is estimated that the reduction in additional revenue may amount to some €8 million.

In relation to the introduction of a new €200 annual contribution for Post Leaving Certificate students, it is estimated that the total additional revenue that will be generated will amount to some €7.5 million and by up to €4 million net when payments by the Exchequer on behalf of those students who are eligible under the student grant schemes are taken into account. Eligible PLC students may include those in receipt of the Back to Education Allowance provided that they meet all of the terms and conditions of the relevant student grant scheme.

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