Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Department of Education and Skills
Third Level Fees
Under the Department’s free fees schemes, the Exchequer provides funding toward the tuition fee costs of eligible full-time undergraduate students with students paying the student contribution which currently stands at €3,000. Outright abolition of 3rd level fees for the student is understood to mean the abolition of the Student Contribution of €3,000.
The Student Contribution, was introduced with effect from the 2011/12 academic year. 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 eligible for free fees and in receipt of student grant support.
If the Student Contribution were abolished from the 2020/21 academic year and the Exchequer were to move to funding the full tuition fee costs of eligible full-time undergraduate students, the estimated additional cost for the Exchequer would be €238million. This is the estimated net cost to the Exchequer since it factors in the subsequent estimated reduction in the SUSI Student Grant budget, since the Exchequer would then no longer pay the Student Contribution on behalf of undergraduate students in receipt of student grant support.
The costs for the Exchequer of reducing or abolishing the student contribution would increase in line with the demographic increases expected in the coming years up to 2030.
The figures above relate to full time undergraduate students who qualify for the Free Fees Initiative. They do not take account of fees determined by Higher Education Institutions such as fees for full-time undergraduate students who do not qualify for the Free Fees Initiative [and who may pay the EU or Non EU fees rate], or fees for part-time undergraduates or any post-graduate students or other additional fees charged by HEIs.