Motion passes calling for College to halt international student fee increases

The union is now mandated to lobby for lower fees for non-EU students

A motion has been passed by Trinity College Dublin’s Students’ Union (TCDSU) Council this evening calling for the union to lobby against fee increases for international students, while another motion relating to fees was delayed due to President Eoin Hand suggesting further consideration be made to the motion before putting it to a vote. 

The motion presented to Council centered on international students’ fees, mandating the union to support international students to reduce their fees, while the second called for a reduction in all students’ fees given the reduced access to campus facilities this academic year.

The motion regarding international students comes as non-EU students pay nearly three times as much as EU students, with these fees subject to a 3-5% increase annually. The motion cited the pandemic as a time to reexamine the fairness of these rates.

Speaking at the Council, Rucha Benare said that international students need support “now more than ever”, with Julia Bochenek adding that with tuition raising again this year, it has been “working against” their college experience. 

Bochenek added that the motion is asking the international students to be added to the Union of Students’ (USI) campaign to reduce EU fees. 

Speaking to Trinity News about why she proposed the motion, proposer Rucha Benare said: “We have put this motion forward because it is high time the university formally recognises the ever-increasing difficulties international students have to face to get an education overseas.”

She continued: “We have seen amazing support from some of the officers from the Union and hope that the Union in its entirety will help establish more reliable and sufficient lines of communication to help international students on a case-by-case basis so no student is lost in this ever tangential chaos.” 

“Moreover, we wish to get non-EU students included in the ongoing movement for lowering of the EU fees.”

Evan Rork urged the council originally to vote against the motion due to “failure to acknowledge the lack of engagement from the SU with international students”. 

He then asked a procedural motion to be added to the proposed motion, however that will be delayed until a later date. 

With the passing of the motion, the union is mandated to lobby against the annual 3-5% increase in non-EU fees.

Benare went on: “Regardless of their EU status, every student should be entitled to having a good academic future (which now seems bleak due to ever-increasing tuition fees during a global pandemic).”

The motion further stated that more support is needed for international students in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions, mandating the union President and International Student Officer to ensure that there is “adequate provision of information” to students by College, including the planned methods of teaching for the rest of the academic year. 

Council also mandated that the union president lobby to ensure that support for students is made readily available by College on a case-by-case basis, relating to difficulties such as travel status to other countries and finances. 

The second motion on fee reduction was proposed by two senior fresh class representatives, and calls for TCDSU to circulate a petition on the reduction of fees in general. This motion was discussed but moved to a later date to pass. 

Dillon Broaders, SF Physical Sciences Class representative, who proposed the motion said that it was “unfair to force students to pay full fees” during the Covid-19 crisis, and that the pandemic is “no excuse to exploit students”. 

Broaders added that “250 euro is good but not good enough” in the reduction of fees. 

Leah Keogh, TCDSU Welfare Officer, also added that she was “fully behind the sentiment of this motion.”

This motion was discussed but moved to a motion K by President Eoin Hand, as he also supported the sentiment of this motion, but believed several changes could be made to it before passing the motion. 

The motion noted that student access to facilities is severely restricted due to the ongoing pandemic and that fees have not decreased to reflect this. Council voted that the union adopt a formal stance on the issue in favor of lowering college tuition, and that the President establish a petition on the subject.

Additional reporting by Adam Balchin and Kate Henshaw

This article was amended at 23:03 on October 27 to amend an error which referred to Leah Keogh as the TCDSU Education Officer. Keogh is the TCDSU Welfare Officer.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.