The threat of an increase in registration fees and a cut to maintenance grants has prompted the NUI Galway’s Student Union to take action by launching a nationwide e-campaign which aims to provide students with a platform to air their views and to lobby local TDs.
NUI Galway SU this week launched the website, www.tellyourtd.com, which allows students, their families, and anyone interested to send a personal letter to the TDs in their constituency urging them not to support an increase in the annual registration fee and not to cut the Student Maintenance Grant or the Student Assistance Fund.
The letters, which will be delivered to constituency offices across the country, ask TDs to protect education by: Placing an immediate cap on the registration fee; continuing the existing grant and income levels in Budget 2011; continuing the current funding levels to the Student Assistance Fund; and developing a National Graduate Internship Programme in the public, private, and voluntary sectors.
According to NUI Galway SU this e-campaign is in response to the “persistent rumours” that the Student Services Charge (registration fee ) could double to €3,000. SU President Peter Mannion says that the registration fee, which has been increased from €190 to €1,500 since its inception, is currently putting severe financial pressure on students and their families and that there is also concern that the Student Maintenance Grant will be cut following a five per cent reduction last year.
“Education is under serious threat ahead of the next budget. It is clear from the number of calls to our office that any increase in the registration fee or cut to the maintenance grant would put education out of the reach of many. It would condemn thousands of students to look towards emigration or the Social Welfare offices rather than have them go on to third-level education. It would see the potential and talent of our nation's children unrealised. This website gives everybody the opportunity to tell their TDs that this is a serious issue and that it will influence how they vote in the next election,” said Mr Mannion.