John Kelly: It is at last being recognised that private colleges make an essential contribution to higher education
IN the reviews by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) currently in progress on the future of higher education in Ireland, it is vital that the contribution of the private colleges is taken into consideration.
These colleges are increasingly making a major contribution in a highly competitive educational landscape to meet the demand for higher education, yet the Government does little to help them or their students except to collect the tax on their staff salaries and on the colleges' profits, which don't add up to much in these difficult days.
No support is given to the private colleges' students who typically have to pay €5,000 to €6,000 per annum fees for a full-time course. Student state maintenance and fee grants are permitted only to students taking "approved courses" in "approved institutions" and this effectively rules out all students in the private colleges.