The increase of registration fees is a “cynical cash-grab” attempt which will hurt Galway, a city whose economy is largely dependent on the student population, according to local election Green Party candidate, James Hope.
The former NUI Galway Student Union president, who will be a candidate in next year’s Galway City Council election, has this week slammed the Minister of Finance Brian Lenihan for allowing third-level institutions to increase the registration fee paid by all students to €1,500. He described the move as a “cynical cash-grab” which will restrict third-level education for those from less well off backgrounds.
"This country abolished tuition fees to make it easier for young people from low-income families to go to college, and it has been a great success... Students from low-income families find it hard enough to afford a third level education. Now, on top of a one per cent levy on all incomes that students working part-time on the minimum wage will have to pay, adding an extra €600 to the cost of going to college is going to make it even more difficult. This will almost certainly mean that a lot of young people will simply not be able to afford to get the third level education they are entitled to.
"We are going to have young people growing up here in Galway, and all over the country, within walking distance of universities and ITs, knowing that they will not be able to afford to go there. On top of that, if we have less students going to college, that's only going to hurt places like Galway and Maynooth, whose economies, and in particular small businesses, depend on the student population. That's not something we need right now,” he said.