College Board last week voted to increase fees for non-EU and postgraduate students by 2.3% starting in 2023.
In March, the Board voted to freeze fees for the 2022/23 academic year, guaranteeing that next year’s fees would remain at the same level as this year. This motion was brought to the Board by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) following a proposed 5% increase in fees for these student cohorts.
College’s most recent decision looks beyond the one-year fee freeze and ensures a fee increase in fees for the following academic year.
A number of Board members were reportedly absent from the meeting at which the fee increase was proposed, including Graduates Students’ Union (GSU) President Gisele Scanlon, and Professor Sarah Alyn-Stacey.
Professor Alyn-Stacey has previously been critical of College decisions, notably opposing the “managerialist direction” of the university in her provost election bid, from which she was disqualified during the interview stage.
All three TCDSU representatives were present at the Board meeting and formally dissented to the proposals.
TCDSU has condemned the move to increase fees, which they say are “already extraordinarily high”.
In a statement on Instagram, the union said: “We are incredibly dissatisfied that College continue to take advantage of international and postgraduate students, who are often the most exploited within our community.”
The statement continued: “We have insisted on a commitment to a fee strategy, which will help explore how we currently set fees and provide scope to revise this model of exponential growth, along with a ring-fenced funding to support international students in financial hardship, both of which were confirmed by the Provost this morning.”
“Whilst we have made some progress this year, Trinity has a long way to go if it is to truly put students over profit, especially given the current cost-of-living crisis. TCDSU will continue to oppose fee increases and fully reject the encroaching commercialisation of education.”
In response to the fee increase, which it has called “undemocratic” campaign group Students4Change have launched a petition to boycott the Student Partnership Agreement (SPA). The SPA an initiative of the College which seeks to enhance collaboration between College and the students’ unions, which it has called “merely a PR-boosting agreement that only benefits College.”
The move comes amid concern over student representation on College Board, which is set to be halved under the Higher Education Authority Bill 2022. Board currently has four student representatives, three from TCDSU and one from the GSU. The Bill limits the number of student representatives on the Board to two.
TCDSU have opposed this provision of the Bill and have sought a commitment from College that student representation on the Board will not be reduced.
Trinity News has contacted the GSU for comment.