UCD President in favour of third-level loan scheme

UCD President Andrew Deeks said that he would be in favour of a loan-scheme system solution to the existing problem of third level funding in Ireland.

The minutes from the UCDSU executive revealed that Mr. Deeks had said that he preffered an income contingent loan scheme.

UCDSU does not have a stance on fees but has a “current standpoint” of highlighting the lack of funding for third level students and wants to “alleviate the current financial burdens of students.”

UCD’S student union president, Conor Viscardi, has been in talks with Mr. Deeks and Gerry O’Brien, Bursar of UCD about third level funding. Viscardi has said that the conversations with the two were about discussing the funding models from the Cassells’ Report which include increased state funding both with and without student charges, or an income-contingent loan scheme which makes university free at the point of entry.

While Viscardi was pleased with the release of the Cassells Report, he also added that each option has “pros and cons to it, there’s no clear answer and that’s perhaps what’s maybe delaying the decision making process” due to the “political ramifications [facing the government] of picking one.”

UCD’s Student Union has been making headlines recently as they held a referendum to decide if they would adopt a neutral stance on repealing the 8th amendment. However, the pro-choice side defeated the neutral stance by 3,036 votes to 1726 votes.

Commenting on the meeting between Viscardi and Deeks, the SU President said that Deeks was viewing the situation from a global perspective, especially in relation to the operation of third-level education in the UK and Australia, and believed the Australian system to be working well.

Last month, Professor Deeks called on politicians to implement the Cassells Report in a joint statement with Dr Patrick Prendergast, Provost of Trinity College Dublin. However, he has not publicly stated any preference on which funding model in the Report he prefers.

Paul Dwyer

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