A RISE in registration fees could have catastrophic effects for third level students in Limerick.
That is the view of high-ranking members of student union bodies in Limerick colleges.
Students are to protest outside Government buildings against possible registration fee increases on November 16.
UL student president Derek Daly describes the possibility of a rise in fees as “extremely inappropriate” and says the number of students leaving UL is on the rise due to financial constraints.
“There is a common misconception that third level education is free in this country. It is very far from the truth and people need to be aware of this.
“The instance of students taking leaves of absence or exiting UL for financial reasons is on the rise and increases in the “student contribution” (tuition fees by any other name) would exacerbate this issue.
“Many students already rely on poor quality food to get by and there is anecdotal evidence that students are using the gym more often to get use of their membership as their discretionary spend has evaporated, but also to use the showers there to avoid switching on the hot water to save costs,” said Mr Daly.
LIT student union vice-president Avril Healy says students are committed to opposing any proposal to increase fees.
“If the fees were to go up, many students will not return to finish their degrees or even start third level education. Education will be no longer be accessible to everyone, only those lucky enough to have the money saved, borrowed or those who receive the grant,” said Ms Healy.