Government loans for students make sense
Politicians often seek to achieve a populist shift that will garner support and yield a mass of votes. The decision to abolish third-level fees seemed like a good idea at the time - especially from the point of view of shoring up political capital. With hindsight, it has not served education well. Solid third-level institutions are the pillars on which the future of a knowledge-led economy must be built.
Thus the registration fee was introduced at a nominal rate, and has subsequently had to be increased; clearly it will not be enough to address the growing needs of an ever-developing third-level sector.
That is why the options published today by the Expert Group on Future Funding for Higher Education deserve serious consideration. Investment in education is something that benefits society as a whole: it boosts the earning power of students and has a multiplier effect across the whole economy.