Thursday, 17 May 2018
Department of Education and Skills
Third Level Funding
101. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to provide the necessary funding for third level institutions; the amount identified in the Cassells report in this regard; and his views on the requirements for funding set out therein. [21834/18]
Higher education is a central part of our plan as a Government to support a strong economy and deliver a fair society. The Report of the Expert Group on Future Funding (Cassells Report) which was published in July 2016, clearly outlines the funding challenges in the higher education sector and offers a number of potential policy approaches for consideration.
While Cassells deals with the medium and long term funding needs of higher education we also have to consider the immediate challenges. In advance of receiving the recommendations of the joint committee, the government has moved to increase funding into the sector. We have therefore prioritised this area in Budgets 2017 and 2018.
As a result, my Department is investing €100m more in higher education in 2018 compared to 2016. Separate to this is the provision which I have made for pay restoration costs in 2018. We will seek to build on this progress in Budget 2019. 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.
As part of Budget 2018, the Government decided to raise the National Training Fund levy by 0.1% in 2018 to 0.8% and by a further 0.1% in both 2019 and 2020. The increase in funding from the National Training Fund is a key strategic element of the overall funding increase for higher and further education.
In addition, In January I published an independent review of the current allocation model for funding higher education which provides a roadmap for transitioning towards a reformed funding model that is more transparent, consistent across higher education institutions, incentivises actions in key strategic areas such as research and STEM provision, and supports improved accountability while also respecting institutional autonomy.
This comprehensive approach is being taken in order to contribute to the development of a long-term sustainable funding model for the sector. As such, it will be important to build broad political and societal consensus on achieving the most appropriate future funding model and my Department and I continue to work to that end.