Thursday, 6 July 2017
Department of Education and Skills
Third Level Admissions Data
45. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his projections for growth in higher education student numbers over the next decade; the way in which he proposes that demand will be met; the projected costings involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31572/17]
My Department is currently forecasting an increase of the order of 25% in full time student demand in DES aided third level institutions between 2015 – 2029.
The need for the additional funding for the Higher Education sector to address these demographic and other pressures was clearly identified in the report of the Expert Group on Future Funding for Higher Education which was published in 2016.
The Expert Group report sets out a number of funding options for the sector. I referred the Expert Group report to the Joint Committee on Education and Skills for its consideration and in order to build political consensus on the most appropriate sustainable future funding model for higher education. I look forward to receiving the recommendations from the Joint Committee once they have concluded their consultation and engagement with relevant stakeholders.
Following the publication of the Expert Group’s report, I took immediate steps to increase funding for higher education to address, inter alia, rising demographics, with an additional €36.5 million being secured in 2017.
Provision is also being made in the Department’s expenditure ceiling in 2018 and 2019 for further investment and, cumulatively, in the period 2017 – 2019, this represents an additional €160 million Exchequer investment in higher education. Elements of this multi-annual funding provision will continue to be directed at meeting the costs of demographic increases.
In addition, my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform are currently exploring the potential for a proposed Exchequer-Employer investment mechanism for higher education and further education and training. The proposal under consultation seeks to deliver up to an additional €200m per annum by 2020 through an increase in the National Training Fund levy.
In addition, the HEA is undertaking a review of the model for allocating recurrent grant funding to universities, institutes of technology and colleges. This will ensure that the model by which funding is allocated to our Higher Education Institutes is as efficient, effective and responsive as possible.