The College Board has approved the implementation of modular billing and a €450 flat fee for supplemental exams. The vote took place at a meeting of the Board last Wednesday, February 28. The €450 fee will be a flat charge, regardless of the number of exams a student has to sit.
This follows the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) preferendum in which 34% of students out of a total valid poll of 3,504 voted for Option 3, which read: “TCDSU should not support the introduction of supplemental exam fees but should advocate for modular billing.”
In a statement to Trinity News, TCDSU President Kevin Keane described College’s decision as a “disgrace” and “completely out of line with all other universities in Ireland”. In the same statement, President-elect Shane De Rís said the decision was “completely unacceptable and must be fought. This completely flies in the face of the student partnership agreement entered into by College and the SU, and sets a dangerous precedent where college ignores students’ views and concerns”.
Speaking on the behalf of Students’ Against Fees (SAF), organiser Oisin Vince Coulter, said: “As we’ve always expressed, Students Against Fees stands against any increase in fees or charges. We believe that they will inevitably disproportionately affect those students least able to pay. It’s clear that College is trying to sweeten the pill by bundling supplemental fees with the completely unrelated issue of modular billing. We will continue to fight this and any other increase, and hope that this might help us instigate the kind of grassroots student movement needed to properly oppose such measures.”
Organiser of the Option 2 campaign and TCDSU Disability Officer, Laura Beston, told Trinity News that she is “disgusted” and “disappointed” at College’s “blatant ignorance towards a preferendum that voiced the opinion of 3,800 students as well as the sabbatical officer who fought our case”. Beston said that she is “deeply angered that College seems to think that our opinions on this doesn’t matter. They have no right to ignore our voice and we will do everything in our power to make sure we are heard”. She asks students to contact her or other activists against college fees to help protest the fees. “We need your ideas and support to fight this,” she said.
In a statement from the Union, TCDSU stated that “Vice Provost Chris Morash proposed the policy, and championed it throughout”. Morash had visited TCDSU Council on January 23, where he suggested the implementation of a €200 supplemental fee, at a cap of €1000. In a statement to Trinity News on February 21, Vice Provost Chris Morash said: “We were proposing a figure of €200 per module, and I had had some discussions with the SU President regarding the idea that we could cap the number of modules for which we charged; however, we weren’t able to bottom out that negotiation (although it is personally something I would support).”
The Union highlighted in their statement that the Student Partnership Policy was “signed less than 12 months ago” and “promises to promote democracy and ensure that students are stakeholders”. TCDSU says that “College’s decision to ignore TCDSU, and the students we represent, is an affront to that Partnership Policy”.
Other universities in Ireland charge various fees for supplemental exams. UCD charge €230 per repeat with no cap on accumulating charges and DCU charge a flat fee of €190 . Some universities charge per credits. UCC charges €35 per 5 credits with a €245 cap, while National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUI Maynooth) charges €10 per credit with a €280 cap and a €50 minimum fee.
An initial proposal of €230 per exam was rejected by TCDSU in January when the charges were first suggested by the College Board.
An open emergency TCDSU meeting will be held tomorrow at 7pm in room 4017 in the Arts Block.
Additional reporting by Seana Davis, Aisling Grace, Lauren Boland and Shane Hughes.
Correction 16.55pm 08/03/18: This article previously said DCU charge €190 per module repeat. It has been updated to reflect the fact that it is a flat fee.