DCU students rally against introduction of student fees

DCU is one of many colleges in Ireland to join in on the ‘Students Against Fees’ campaign created by Trinity students in November 2015.

The campaign was set up by students who were angered by the defeat of a motion brought forward to the Trinity Student Union council to oppose the introduction of student fees by the government.

As it stands, those who do not qualify for the SUSI grant must pay a student contribution fee of €3,000 to the college. Earlier this month, both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael announced that they would abolish SUSI and introduce a new system whereby all students could go to college free of charge for the duration of their course, and then begin to pay back tuition fees once their income reaches over €25,000 after college.

Additionally, college fees would be increased by €1000, a sharp increase in comparison to the steady rise of students fees of €250 per year since 2011.

The political parties’ defence for introducing this new system is that as the number of students entering college increases, so does the government’s contribution to student fees, which they believe the government can no longer afford to do after seven years of spending cuts.

Despite Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, and Labour not mentioning the new system of student loans in their manifestos released last week, they can still introduce the new system if they enter into government.

This is why DCU students Grainne Smith and Sean Cassidy have taken it upon themselves to bring the Students Against Fees campaign to DCU, as many other students are similarly doing in UCD, NUI Maynooth, and UL.

Sean explains that their first aim is to inform DCU students about the campaign, as many students are under the impression that the campaign is against banks giving loans to current students.

The campaign’s main aim is to gather the support of students nationwide, just as USI did this time last year in a bid to pass the marriage referendum, so that together they can pressure the government into not introducing student loans.

To get involved in the campaign or find out more, look at DCU’s Student Against Fees Facebook page.

Clara Hickey

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