Future students could pay as much as €20,000 in loans

Future graduates could face tuition loans of between €12,000 and €20,000 which they would begin to repay once their earnings reached a certain threshold.

In a report received by the Department of Education on how a loan contingent scheme could operate in Ireland, the €3,000 student contribution would be abolished. This would make third level education free at point of access.

The report also mentions possible sanctions on graduates who plan to emigrate. They would be required to pay a minimum of €1,000 a year while abroad with suggestions of tax agreements with other countries like the UK, the US and Australia so debtors could pay off their loan to the Revenue in the same way as if they were still living in Ireland.

The report gives three possible schemes with all three involving an increase in state funding and an improved grant and support system.

The first would see the state; fund sixty per cent of higher education. Under the second proposal the €3000 contribution fee would be abolished and higher education would be mostly state funded.

The final option would see the state contributing eighty per cent towards the cost. The report acknowledged that while this option would be the easiest option, it could be unfair to those citizens who do not receive third level education.

Jennifer Purdy

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