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To: Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton

Invest in Publicly-Funded Third-Level Education in Ireland Now

USI call on the Irish government and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills to make a historic long-term decision and invest in the publicly-funded third level education model as outlined in the Cassells Report.

Why is this important?

#EducationIs a public good.

The report outlines three funding options:

1) Funding Option One: A Predominantly State-Funded System.

2) Funding Option Two: Increased State-Funding with Continuing Student Fees.

3) Funding Option Three: Increased State-Funding with Deferred Payment of Fees Through Income Contingent Loans.

USI know that Funding Option One is key for Irish students' future. Funding Option One: A predominantly state-funded system advocates that the state would significantly increase its core grant to institutions and the €3,000 undergraduate student contribution would be abolished. Higher education would be free at the point of entry for all first-time EU students and for part-time learners.There is also the possibility of extending free tuition to postgraduate education.

Funding Option Three will have a negative effect on the lives of current and future Irish students. USI know that an income-contingent loan scheme is not a viable solution to third-level funding as a burden of €20,000+ debt upon graduation will deter people from applying to college.

Financial strain of placing this debt on graduates spans across all communities and groups including parents, children, staff and teachers - not just students.

The campaign is supported by members of the Coalition for Publicly Funded Higher Education including SIPTU, IMPACT, TUI, IFUT and the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) so far.


America's student loan debt ($1tn+) is greater in value than the combined economies of Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia. In other words, American students owe the combined value of all transactions in those countries in a year. Home-ownership in under-40s in New Zealand has drastically fallen since the introduction of student loans, from 57% to 25%.”

Charging no tuition-related fees, Germany has 41 universities that are considered by Times Higher Education to be among the best in the world. In France, where they have registration fees of under €200, there are 27. 70% of the 2015 college graduates in the UK are not expected to ever repay their college loans, according to The Institute of Fiscal Studies.


2016-10-15 16:46:09 +0100

Great news! This week we collected 10,000 signatures from students all over Ireland demanding that the Irish government not burden them with a student loan! Share the #EducationIs online petition on your social media ->

2016-10-15 06:09:17 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2016-10-12 12:20:13 +0100

500 signatures reached

2016-10-09 16:25:09 +0100

We have almost reached 400 signatures! Who said politics and festivals can't mix? We never said that anyway. We've got a a free gig with Elderbrook and more guests from Metropolis Festival with Trinity Ents for anyone who comes to the demonstration on October 19th against the introduction of student loans. We also have Rubberbandits' Blindboy MCing and speaking at the demonstration. Never say #EducationIs boring or no craic and take to the streets on October 19th!

2016-10-01 10:58:13 +0100

100 signatures reached

2016-09-30 15:43:42 +0100

50 signatures reached

2016-09-30 12:45:35 +0100

25 signatures reached

2016-09-30 12:12:59 +0100

10 signatures reached