The leaking of a report Funding Irish Higher Education: A Virtuous Circle of Investment, Quality and Verification indicates that the government is planning a new model to cope with the growing crisis in higher education.
Kieran Allen, a UCD academic and People Before Profit member said: ‘Student numbers are increasing and the numbers will grow by about 30 percent by 2028. However, instead of developing a proper public funding model, there are signs that the political establishment want to promote student loans.
‘The experience elsewhere shows that this would be disaster as it would cripple young people with debt for decades after they graduate. ‘It would also pave the way for a systematic run down of state funding and an increase in student fees.
‘This is already indicated by talk of fees being in a range of €4,000 to €16,000.
‘The experience of student loans in America has been a disaster. Total outstanding student loan debt in the US has become larger than total outstanding credit card.
‘Between 1990 and 2010, real funding per public full-time enrolled student declined by over 26%.
‘Over the same period, tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities rose by 112.5% while the price of public two-year colleges increased by 71%.
‘Today, the average US student graduates college or university with over $25,000 in educational loan debt.
‘We do not want a repeat of this experience in Ireland. The political establishment will dangle the prospect of cheap loans in front of financially stressed students. But in the longer term it is a poisoned chalice.’