Ireland's seven universities are turning to the public to put pressure on politicians to provide more State funding.
The Irish Universities Association (IUA) has launched a campaign warning of the risk of a "serious drop in quality or a shortfall in places for students in the future" if the funding crisis was not tackled urgently.
The Save Our Spark campaign aims to raise awareness and encourage members of the public to sign a petition urging their local TD or senator to act. The IUA developed the campaign because of "two years of inaction" since the publication of the Cassells Report, which put forward a number of funding options.
The Department of Education is conducting an assessment of the options set out in the report. A Department of Public Expenditure review in July challenged some of the assumptions in the report.
IUA director general Jim Miley said state funding of €5,000 per third level student was about half of what it had been a decade ago and a fraction of similar-sized European countries' expenditure.