Trinity College Dublin’s Student Union (TCDSU) launched a petition today calling for a reduction in the Student Contribution Charge for third level students.
TCDSU President Eoin Hand and the union’s sabbatical team issued a statement this afternoon, which they noted that Irish students faced an increase in the Student Contribution charge of 363% over the 2007-2014 period but class sizes and student-to-teacher ratios have increased.
Additionally, this increase means that Ireland now has the highest Student Contribution charge in Europe, following the exit of Britain from the EU.
The statement touched on the additional effects of the current pandemic, stating that students in higher education have faced “worsening conditions”.
The union urged students to sign the petition so the union could use the results to lobby College and politicians.
The petition follows a mandate passed at the union’s last Council meeting to lobby politicians for a reduction in the charge.
Members of the union speaking at Council labelled the charge as “unjust” and “immoral” while many students are facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic.
The letter to students announcing the petition, which was signed by all sabbatical officers, stated: “You, the students of 2020 have been through enough, you have endured worsening conditions in the Higher Education Sector, and a Global Pandemic. You the students deserve more.”
“Our politicians might be listening, our Taoiseach recognises the importance of funding Higher Education, our Minister recognises the Student Contribution Charge is “too high”, but recognition is not enough,” they continued.
“We at TCDSU need your support, your signatures, your voices, to secure an Education For All.”
TCDSU’s petition coincides with beginning of the Union of Student in Ireland’s (USI) #EducationForAll campaign. The campaign focuses on lowering the cost of higher education and improving Higher Education quality, while the country endures the fallout from Covid-19. One of the key demands of the #EducationForAll campaign is an end to the student contribution charge.
Dillon Broaders, SF Physical Sciences class representative, brought the motion forward at TCDSU Council. Speaking to Trinity News following the announcement of the petition, Broaders said: “Trinity students now have a very rare opportunity to collectively express their views at both a college and a national level.”
“I urge them to take that opportunity and to sign this petition.”