Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Education and Skills

Third Level Education

Photo of Rose Conway-WalshRose Conway-Walsh (Mayo, Sinn Fein)
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648. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he has plans to introduce an income-contingent maintenance support fund for higher education as outlined in the recently published economic evaluation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32435/22]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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On the 4th of May I launched Funding the Future – a landmark policy on the future of higher education.

Funding the Future was created as part of a Department of Further and Higher Education, Research and Innovation response to the commissioned independent report Increasing the Sustainability of Higher and Further Education in Ireland and the separate independent review of the Student Grant Scheme, conducted in response to a Programme for Government commitment to review SUSI eligibility criteria, adjacency rates and postgraduate grant supports.

Funding the Future, which was approved for publication by Government, settles the question on funding Higher Education. The Government has decided that income contingent loans will not form part of the future funding model.

Instead, the Government is committing to a multi-funded model of additional Exchequer investment and employer contributions through the National Training Fund and student contribution.  It is also my intention that in response to the cost of education and living, a reduced reliance on student contributions will be a feature of future reforms.

The policy sets out the vision and direction of higher education funding, our commitment to addressing legacy issues in higher education and detailing our ambitious plans for investment and reform. This includes:

- planned additional investment of €307 million to address core funding challenges for our institutions, that will be made over a number of years through annual budgetary processes. This does not account for future demographic needs or new policy proposals for higher education.

- plans to consider options to address cost as a barrier to higher education, and how we will pursue funding measures on these issues through the Estimates process, including in respect of reductions to the student contribution and enhancements to the SUSI grant in line with the Student Grant Review.

Additional detail is available on the gov.ie website at the following location: gov.ie/en/policy-information/49e56-future-funding-in-higher-education/

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