Economics of Fianna Failure: Slashing Education Grants Undermines Smart Economy

7 Feb

Cut of 60% in Student Grants

Mary Fitzgibbon (Independent Candidate, Kerry North/West Limerick) has warned that cuts to higher education grants will severely disadvantage local students who wish to study at nearby colleges.

A cut of 4% in higher education grants was announced in the budget. More recently, the Fianna Fail government quietly amended the grant criteria in order to disqualify thousands of students who attend college in their home county.

At present, the full maintenance grant is €3,120, and students with a home address within 24 km of college receive a lower grant rate of €1,248.

However, the government recently increased the travel distance required in order to qualify for the full higher education grant. From September, college students whose parents live up to 45km of college will only receive the much lower grant of €1,248.

The Fianna Fail plan will hit over 18,000 students nationally and involves a total reduction in grants of €30 million per annum.

Students attending IT Tralee from families in Abbeyfeale, Listowel, Ballybunnion, Killarney, Killorglin  and many more areas will suffer a 60% cut in the grant.


Distance to IT Tralee 2010 Grant 2011 Grant
Listowel

27 km

€3,120 €1,248
Killorglin 27 km €3,120 €1,248
Killarney 32 km €3,120 €1,248
Ballybunnion 42 km €3,120 €1,248
Abbeyfeale 40 km €3,120

€1,248

Mature students are also being targeted: where previously they were entitled to the full grant no matter how far they lived from college, they will now get the reduced grant should they live within 45km. Given the extra difficulties faced by mature students, this will drive many of them out of education.

Mary Fitzgibbon said that “many parents and families are not aware of the wholesale slashing of the student grant that was undertaken with the support of Deputies McEllistrim, O’Donoghue and Healy-Rae. This is a very retrograde and backward policy that will undermine the type of educational improvement that we need as part of a proper plan for economic recovery. ” Mary also highlighted the fact that the “the obliteration of the grant will push students to colleges that are further away from local communities”.

Mary is meeting students at IT Tralee this week and is urging them to campaign against the grant proposals and use their vote accordingly.

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One Response to “Economics of Fianna Failure: Slashing Education Grants Undermines Smart Economy”

  1. Gerard Collins February 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    The USI stated that they met with Michael Healy Rae about this issue just before Christmas and that he would support the fight against fee rises. What is his position on this?

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