Universities need funds to cope with student growth
Universities say that they will not be able to cope with the growing demand for college places if the Government does not provide more funding.
According to the seven universities, they need an additional €2bn for buildings and technology over the next decade.
The call comes in a pre-Budget submission from the Irish Universities Association, highlighting the ongoing pressures on space from rising student numbers and warning that "it will be impossible to meet future demand without major capital investment".
The economic crisis saw investment for infrastructure at third-level fall from an average €111m per year in the five years before 2008, to €34m in 2014. The focus in those years was on directing available funding to building new primary and second-level schools to cope with increasing enrolments.
"The bulge in that population is already feeding through into third-level and will do so at a growing rate over the next decade-and a-half" the IUA submission states, noting that student numbers increased by 17pc between 2007/08 and 2013/14.
The overall funding per student has dropped to €6,875 this year, compared with a euro equivalent €10,275 in Northern Ireland.
The IUA calls for a range of measures to help build infrastructure in their colleges including tax reliefs and incentives for philanthropic donations, VAT relief on the construction of student accommodation and a tax credit for companies investing in research and development.