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Students' embarking on their career journey – Is Féidir linn

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The Union of Students in Ireland

Posted by Francis O' Toole on September 4, 2014

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has called for student support levels to be maintained in its pre-budget submission and education policy for the coming year.

The protection of the Back to Education allowance, as well as the protection of the student maintenance grant, are among the measures contained in the pre-budget submission and education policy outlined yesterday.

“The level of the grant as it stands gives opportunity to the least well-off candidates in the country to attend third-level education and develop skills for life,” said USI president Laura Harmon. “Cutting the grant or shifting the thresholds downwards would certainly price even more students out of education.”

Ms Harmon said the cost of sending a student to college tops €13,000 a year, according to a study by Bank of Ireland, while the average grant comes to €3,025. “That’s despite rent increases of 17.2 per cent in Dublin and 10 per cent across the country,” she said.

“Access to higher-level education is under threat at the moment because of the financial hardship that students are experiencing . The levels of the maintenance will need to be looked at because of inflation and rising costs in rent as it hasn’t been increased in several years.”

The USI highlighted the student accommodation crisis and plans to meet Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly and Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan about the issue. (Irish Times)

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