The Union of Students in Ireland campaign against a student loan scheme
USI urge students to join their national demonstration on 19 October
The Union of Students of Ireland announced that their national demonstration will take place in Dublin on 19 October. The demonstration is expected to draw over 5000 students and USI are urging students to contact their college’s students’ union if they want to join the demonstration.
At the demonstration, USI will call on the Irish government and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills to make a long-term decision and invest in the publicly-funded third level education model as outlined in the Cassells report. The demonstration is against the income-contingent loan scheme for third level funding because people might not be as willing to apply to college knowing they will graduate with over €20,000 debt.
The President of the USI, Annie Hoey, discussed the amount of loan debt owned by American students, and how home ownership in under-40s in New Zealand has fallen since student loans: “The status quo isn’t working. Third level education is unaffordable and our universities are slipping down on the QS World University Rankings. The loan scheme option put forward in the Cassells report is unsustainable. It will increase emigration, saddle young people with a mortgage-modelled debt and widen the gap between the rich and the poor. America’s student loan debt ($1tn+) is greater in value than the combined economies of Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia. In other words, American students owe the combined value of all transactions in those countries in a year. Home-ownership in under-40s in New Zealand has drastically fallen since the introduction of student loans, from 57% to 25%.”
It would also appear that there is a correlation between the performance of the students in a university and the amount of fees charged. Germany has 41 universities that are considered by the Times Higher Education to be among the best in the world. In France, where they have registration fees of under €200, there are 27.
So, if you don’t want to graduate college with a huge amount of debt, then join the demonstration on 19 October, and urge your SU to support the USI in this campaign. Supported by the Coalition for Publicly Funded Higher Education, whose members include SIPTU, IMPACT, TUI, IFUT and the National Youth Council of Ireland, the march will start at the Garden of Remembrance at 1pm on 19 October.