Written answers

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Department of Education and Skills

Third Level Charges

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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200. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated first and full-year cost of reducing the student contribution rate by €250, €500 or €1,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30342/19]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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The Student Contribution, which currently stands at €3,000, was introduced with effect from the 2011/12 academic year. Based on the number of students that qualified for free fees funding in the academic year 2017/18 (and were therefore liable to pay the Student Contribution), and taking into account expected increases in student numbers, it is estimated that the net cost to my Department of reducing the contribution is outlined in the table.

Reduce by (per student) €Estimated Net cost to Department €
€250€19m
€500€38m
€1,000€76.4m

It should be noted that this figure incorporates the resulting reduction to my Department's Student Grant Scheme budget.

While the student contribution now stands at €3,000, it is important to recognise that there has been no increase in the contribution since 2014/15. The exchequer pays this contribution (or part of it) on behalf of almost 50% of undergraduate students who are in receipt of student grant assistance.

Tax relief provisions are also available so that second and subsequent siblings do not have to bear the full cost. In addition, higher education institutions have provisions in place to allow students to pay the contribution in two moieties.

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