T he Irish Universities Association (IUA) said that the governments investment in higher education in Budget 2022 is a welcome change, but “is not sufficient to address the core funding deficit in the sector.”
€68 million has been allocated to the higher education sector in Budget 2022.
As a result, 3,320 more CAO places will be created, with SUSI grants rising by €200 and the threshold increasing by €1,000.
Ross Boyd, Vice-President for Community and Citizenship in DCU Students Union agreed with the IUA’s statement.
He said that Budget 2022 is “only a small change in the focus of what truly needs to be publicly funded higher education.”
Recent food bank shortages at UCC have emphasised the need for greater student funding.
Despite this, SUSI recipients have been on a steady downward trend, going from 85,000 in 2015 to 79,000 in 2020.
A DCU SUSI recipient told The College View they believe more should be done for students living in accommodation amidst a housing crisis.
The recipient, who requested anonymity, said “I suppose I was lucky I don’t have to pay for student accommodation and get my grant to go to college. I’d say for students in student accommodation they could probably do with more.
“They need a little bit more aid financially to get through, because its expensive.”
A controversial aspect of Budget 2022 regarding higher education funding was the non-role of the Cassells report. Published in 2016, the report, headed by Peter Cassells, offered three options regarding funding further education in Ireland.
Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris had begun to write a report on the European Commission’s findings on the Cassells report, saying it would be published in Autumn.
However, Harris’s report still has not been published and played no role in Budget 2022 with Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, Rose Conway-Walsh accusing Harris of “delay tactics”.
In the IUAs eyes the changes introduced in Budget 2022 “lack vision”. IUA chair and President of NUI Galway Prof. Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh believes that the government should focus in on nurturing Irish talent as corporation tax from foreign companies decrease.
He said the government should be “doubling down on its investment in talent and in research and innovation to ensure the future of a good society and the growth of the economy which supports it.”
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