Editorial: We face harsh lessons on third-level funding
Let us speak candidly. Families with students pursuing third-level education courses are paying fees. They are called something else these days - but they are fees for all that. Most students pay €2,750 per year - and expect to pay €3,000 next year.
Many people in that situation will shudder at the mention of a review of how we fund third-level education. History teaches us that this can only mean one thing - the squeezed middle being further squeezed.
Let's hold that thought fast, as we look at another reality. Ireland's third-level colleges are seriously under-funded. The economic crisis has enforced continual cuts in state funding and the growing population has meant more students. Funding has fallen by one-third in the past eight years - from €1.4bn per year in 2008 to over €900m.