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Monday 5 December 2016

FF leave door open to loan scheme for college fees

Published 12/07/2016 | 02:30

The Union of Students in Ireland slammed the loan scheme option in the Cassells Report, published this morning, calling it ‘socially regressive’, but welcomed the publicly-funded education option and urged the government to go down this route to improve higher education funding. Picture Conor McCabe Photography
The Union of Students in Ireland slammed the loan scheme option in the Cassells Report, published this morning, calling it ‘socially regressive’, but welcomed the publicly-funded education option and urged the government to go down this route to improve higher education funding. Picture Conor McCabe Photography

The introduction of a controversial student loan system has moved a step closer after Fianna Fáil admitted new funding measures are needed to prevent colleges from suffering "reputational damage".

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Student groups and Opposition TDs criticised the 'study now, pay later' proposal, but both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael said the option must be seriously considered.

Fianna Fáil wants to freeze tuition fees at their current level of €3,000 per annum but significantly the party is open to the idea of a new 'study now, pay later' college fees scheme, despite claiming the costs of such a scheme are "extremely uncertain".

The party's education spokesman, Thomas Byrne, said: "This report makes it clear that there is a third-level funding crisis."

The scheme could see students saddled with bills of €20,000 on leaving college. However, one FG minister, Michael Ring, said he was opposed to any measure that would heap extra costs on students.

Irish Independent

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