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College fees to be cut by €1,000 this year in major Budget boost for students

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Third-level fees are to be cut by €1,000 this year and significantly reduced on a permanent basis over the coming years under a major Budget boost for students.

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris has secured a multimillion euro Budget package for students and their families which will ease the financial burden of going to college this year and over the coming years.

This includes funding to reduce college fees by €1,000 for all students this year and means no one will pay more than €2,000 to attend third-level education for the coming term.

Meanwhile, all student grant recipients will get a double payment this year while those studying for PHDs will get a once off cost of living payment before Christmas.

However, the minister also struck a deal that will see a long term reduction of college fees based on a family’s household income.

Under the new plan, any family earning under €100,000 will see a permanent reduction of €500 in fees – meaning students will pay €2,500 a year to attend college.

While families earning €62,000 a year will pay no more than €1,500 in fees due to changes in student grant rules.

It is the first cut in the student contribution charge in 27 years. It grew to €3,000 a year from a €150-a-year administration charge in the mid-1990s when third-level tuition fees were abolished.

At €3,000, the student charge in Ireland is the highest in the EU, and student leaders have been calling for it be scrapped.

Mr Harris has been campaigning within Cabinet for almost a year to have it reduced and from next year, most students in families earning under €100,000 a year will benefit from a cut over the long-term.

In the short term - the current academic year – all students will see a €1,000 reduction, to €2,000, a cost-of living move for which Mr Harris had the support of Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.



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