Tuesday 20 February 2018

Students face €2,000 charge but graduate tax shelved

John Walshe Education Editor

STUDENTS will be hit with registration charges of €2,000 from September, but plans to saddle them with debt worth one-third of the cost of their courses have been shelved.

Fine Gael's plans to introduce a graduate tax for 40,000 students starting college in September have been shelved, pending a review.

The delay was interpreted last night as a victory for Labour, which had signed a pre-election pledge to oppose new fees or a graduate tax.

But the price for Labour's victory was acceptance of the planned €2,000 student service charge from September.

Labour had promised to keep it at €1,500.

The graduate-tax plan would have seen students lumbered with debts ranging from €8,000 for an arts or business graduate, to €16,000 for a science or engineering graduate, and a maximum of €54,000 for a newly qualified dentist.


In a classic fudge, the Programme for Government instead promises a review of last year's Hunt report, which recommended some form a graduate contribution, based on income.

An earlier OECD report on higher education in Ireland which had recommended the return of tuition fees will also be reviewed before year end.

Also missing from the deal is the Fine Gael promise to make Irish optional after the Junior Certificate.

Instead, the document promises a review of the way Irish is taught and the allocation of 50pc marks for oral Irish.

Fine Gael had promised to compel schools to issue annual reports that would include performance in exams but instead there was a reference in the document to publishing information across a "range of criteria" which were not spelt out.

Irish Independent

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