by Richard Guiheen
USI’s student demonstration “Education Is in The Red” took place today at Government Buildings in Dublin. Over 20,000 students from Universities and Institutes of Technology across the country attended the peaceful protest. The USI campaign is calling on the Government to invest in the third level education model as outlined in the Cassells Report, but they plan to use an income-contingent loan scheme to fund third level institutions. This system which is currently being used in the UK will create a €20,000 debt for students in third level education.
Protesters chanted “We say no to student loans…Education is a right…Leo Leo off the fence, students can’t afford their rent.”
Jane Hayes Nally, a 5th-year student from Midleton College in Cork stated their “future is at stake” because the loan scheme would prevent students from going to a third-level institution as it would be no longer be affordable.
USI President Michael Kerrigan led the protest and spoke about where we stood when it comes to fees.
“€3,000. Ireland has the eighth highest fees in the world, the second highest in Europe and we may soon have the highest fees in the European Union”.
He discussed the SUSI grant scheme and how it has not helped more than half of third-level students.
“Who are the other fifty-four percent? These were students who were refused…because they were over the threshold…worked a few too many hours…their parents earned too much and the system assumed that the parents supported them.”
The USI president said the Loan Scheme “would cost the country €10 billion euro for the next twelve years to implement”
You can play your part
USI urges students to download the petition at http://usi.ie/educationis/takeaction/ get friends to sign it and hand it to their Student Union. Ensure you are registered to vote, start a trend on Twitter using #EducationIs and contact your local TD