Offaly third level students struggling with rising costs

Offaly Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has said he is extremely concerned about the spiralling costs that have hit 3rd level students this year.

Offaly Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has said he is extremely concerned about the spiralling costs that have hit 3rd level students this year.

The latest CSO figures show education costs are up almost 10% (9.6%), largely due to increases at third level, increasing the risk that cost of college is being put beyond the reach of more and more families in Offaly.

Deputy Cowen said, “Due to a series of broken promises by the Education Minister Ruairí Quinn, the cost of going to college has become significantly more expensive this year. In total, Minister Quinn is planning 4 increases in the student contribution fee. It went up to €2,250 for September this year and will go up another three times until it is set at €3,000. This is increasing pressure on students along with rental costs and transport costs. The latest CSO figures show transport costs have also increased by 8% in the past year.

“The number of people graduating from 3rd level in Offaly has increased steadily over the years. We know from years of experience that strengthening our education system and increasing the number of college graduates is of huge benefit for job creation in the country. However we cannot allow a situation to develop where college is only available to families of means.

“We are completely opposed to any further increase in the student contribution fee and are looking at ways to adequately address the funding problems at third level without putting the burden on students. The evidence is mounting that families in Offaly and across the country are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet and Government policy should not be making it more difficult for parents to put their children through college.”