College has agreed to reverse proposed 5% fee increases for international and postgraduate students following outcry from students.
Following fee hikes for international and postgraduate students last week, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) and the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) held a meeting with College this morning to discuss the fee increases. After discussions, College decided to reverse the fee increases.
Last week, Trinity News discovered that College had increased non-EU and postgraduate fees by 5% for the upcoming year, appearing to breach the fee certainty agreement which the College Board agreed upon in March following Take Back Trinity protests. The increase reportedly occurred due to a difference in interpretation of the agreement which was reached.
Speaking to Trinity News, GSU President Oisín Vince Coulter outlined that the GSU “welcomes” College’s decision “to clarify that fees on continuing Postgraduates and non-EU students will not be raised”.
“The maintenance of the Fee Certainty agreement drawn up by the Graduate Students’ Union last year is hugely important for students, many of whom struggle to cover the high costs of attending university as is,” Vince Coulter explained.
College agreed to the Fee Certainty agreement, which would stabilise fees for postgraduate and continuing international undergraduate students, following the success of the Take Back Trinity movement in March. It also reversed its decision to charge a €450 flat fee for supplemental fees.
VInce Coulter continued to say that “although it’s regretful that students felt stress in the last few days, we hope that they can now feel secure in planning the academic year ahead. College has shown a commendable willingness to engage with students and we look forward a productive year ahead”.
TCDSU President Shane De Rís and GSU President Oisín Vince Coulter released a joint statement announcing that the proposed fees would not be implemented for the upcoming year. The statement announced that TCDSU, the GSU, and College reached a “mutual agreement” that no fees would increase for continuing students this year.
According to the statement, student portals will be updated to reflect the reversal by the end of this week. Students who have already paid these fees are set to be reimbursed.
“We understand that this situation arose due a difference of understanding and there wasn’t any malice on the part of College. We look forward to engaging with College in future to prevent such a situation arising again and working on the avenues of cooperation which exist between the Unions and the College administration,” the statement read.
“College regrets the uncertainty around this issue, and any stress that it caused to students. The Students’ Unions are happy to see the fee certainty agreement being upheld, and we will work so it remains so in future.”
Speaking to Trinity News, TCDSU President Shane De Rís stated: “TCDSU welcomes the decision not to increase the fees for non-EU and Postgraduate students and the upholding of the Fee Certainty Agreement. This decision shows the power and importance of the student voice and representation within college.”
“We remain at the disposal of any students who were affected by this and seek further information on the issue,” De Rís continued. “International students can now go about making their arrangements for returning to study in Trinity without the added burden and stress of increased fees.”