NUIG SU march over increased student charges

NUIG SU march over increased student charges


NUI Galway Students’ Union to march over proposed increases in the student contribution charge and further cuts to the maintenance grant.

Thousands of students from NUI Galway will march later today to protest against the financially crippling student contribution and possible cuts to the third level maintenance grant. Students will march from the NUI Galway campus to Eyre Square where a rally will be held. There, they will be joined by students from GMIT and Athlone IT.

Despite pre-election written assurances by Minister for Education & Science, Ruairi Quinn not to increase the student contribution, one of his first acts in government was to increase the annual charge by €1,000 and cut the maintenance grant by 11%.c The criteria to qualify for a maintenance grant have also been drastically changed which has resulted in supports to thousands of students being cut and the introduction of a new inefficient system for allocating grants known as SUSI, which is drastically failing students and pushing many of them towards dropping out of college. Last night in the Dáil, Minister Quinn apologised to the thousands of students who have been left without grants because of the failure of SUSI. He also accepted full responsibility for the errors.

Today’s march, which is part of a series of nationwide marches being organised by the Union of Students in Ireland, will give students the opportunity to publicly oppose the minister’s plans for further fee hikes and cuts to the maintenance grant. 44% of NUI Galway students are in receipt of a maintenance grant, which is the higher than any other Irish university. NUI Galway Students’ Union believes that any cuts to the maintenance grant will have devastating consequences.

NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Paul Curley, said:

“Students are beyond the point of being angry or annoyed by the Minister’s u- turns, or by the constant threat of more increases. It’s not about emotions anymore – it’s down to survival. Students and their families simply cannot afford to pay for the costs of college and many students are on the verge of dropping out. That’s a huge loss on money already invested in their education, and the taxpayer gets nothing back for that. Those students will join the dole queues and draw more from the exchequer than their education currently costs”

“This is very simple – invest in education and create a workforce who can attract investment and pay the bills. If Minister Quinn persists with his slash and burn tactics, he’ll be doing a lot more apologising in future”

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