Friday, 27 November 2020
The Times Ireland reported today that ‘University College Dublin’s income from fees has increased by €11 million this year’.
Conor Anderson, President, UCD Students’ Union said; ‘We are deeply angered by the recent reports of UCD making €11 million more in student fees this year than last. They have made money off students during Covid-19, while the call for reasonable compensation due to the disruption caused by the pandemic has been ignored every time student representatives have raised it. The unspoken assumption has been that the University is struggling financially, just as so many students are. We can now confidently say that is not the case: we are struggling, but they are not. Yet again, it is the students who are called on to foot the bill, whether that means financing luxury accommodation affordable to only the most well-off or carrying the University through a global pandemic on our backs. This pattern is untenable, and it is incompatible with a society that values a publicly funded and accessible higher education sector. Some of the hardest-hit are medical students, who also face year-on-year fee increases. Current fees are €16,290 for Irish students and €55,140 for non-EU students, which represents an increase of €1,000 and €3,000, respectively, since 2017. These students have asked UCD to show where this extra money is going, but no explanation has been provided. Medical students are telling us that as fees are increasing, so are student numbers, but funding for supports remains static. On top of that, the available financing for these students caps at €14,000 per year, which no longer covers the cost of fees. Med students simply asked for a halt to these unjustified increases. How are students expected to budget for an extra €1,000 every year until they graduate? When our student doctors are working on the frontlines for little or no pay during a pandemic, the least we can do is freeze the cost of their course. It is putting them under significant undue stress. We are calling on the University to listen to different student groups and to take our concerns seriously. First the medicine students, the business students and the nursing students who have all organised and presented their needs to UCD. It is obviously unfair for us to tighten our belts and eat the cost of these high fees, while the University takes our money to pad their reserves. Many students are unable to get jobs, many have seen our grades fall due to stress and difficulty – we cannot be expected to bail-out UCD by paying higher fees this year. Where’s our bail-out? It’s our money!’
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