Tuesday, 7 November 2017
Department of Education and Skills
Third Level Funding
366. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if a deadline will be set for the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Skills to make a recommendation on the future funding of higher education. [46335/17]
It was in recognition of the funding challenge in higher education that the Government appointed an Expert Group to examine future funding requirements for higher education and to present options for developing a sustainable long term funding strategy for the sector. The Expert Group’s report, which was published in July 2016, clearly outlines the funding challenges and offers a number of approaches and recommendations for consideration. I referred the expert group report to the Oireachtas Joint Committee for Education and Skills as committed to in the Programme For Government.
A deadline has not been set for the completion of the Joint Oireachtas Committee's deliberations. That would be a decision for the Joint Oireachtas Committee itself.
I look forward to receiving the Committee’s recommendations in due course which will assist in facilitating informed decision-making for the future direction of funding for higher education
In the interim, I have been aware of the immediate challenges facing the higher education sector and so while the Committee has been undertaking this important work, I have been working to secure additional funding for the sector. It was in that context that I secured additional funding for the sector in Budget 2017 of €36.5 million.
Building on the progress made in Budget 2017, I secured an additional €60 million for higher education in Budget 2018. This additional funding will allow for targeted initiatives in higher education including skills programmes, performance and innovation funding, technological university development and apprenticeship costs in the sector. It will also allow for places to be provided for 2,100 additional students in 2018. In total, we will be investing €100m more in higher and further education in 2018 than in 2016.