College will try to increase masters’ tuition fees – we must be ready

If you are interested in applying for a masters’ degree after finishing your bachelors, I urge you to read this and get involved in the campaign.

Each year, there are around 4,000 students enrolled in masters programmes at Trinity. Many have just finished undergraduate degrees and have opted to continue their education at Trinity, pursuing their lifelong dreams and passions. These courses already cost us a fortune, between €7,000 to €36,000, and put many in financial stress, with over 65% taking up work in addition to their studies and others having to take up loans. This is actively pricing students out of education, and around ⅓ of (master’s) students have considered dropping out.

Despite this, our College is currently “reviewing” single-year master’s fees, due for implementation for the 2025/2026 academic year. We know what this means. Senior management will propose tuition fee hikes that will affect the 4,000 or so students who will enrol at the time. This makes education inaccessible and places a financial burden on students that may contribute to them dropping out. They will inevitably claim that the increase will go towards student services, yet despite previous increases, our counselling and health services have months-long waiting times, our student-staff ratio is extremely high and our buildings are in severe need of repair. All the meanwhile, senior management are paid €2.5 million a year in total, salaries which ordinary students and staff cannot begin to comprehend. 

It is further hypocritical that College tries to portray itself as allies with students in challenging the government. True, the government is to blame ultimately, and they need to be opposed. However, if College truly is an ally of students in this fight against fee increases, it needs to stop using students as cash cows to plug the funding gap and it needs to take a harsher stance on the government’s underfunding of the higher-education sector. Senior management keep issuing timid condemnation of a for-profit approach to academia, yet practise the same ideology when it comes down to the bottom-line. We need to apply pressure on College, and consequently the government. 

We must take disruptive action against College, because we know what happens if we do not. 

Reflecting College’s utter disregard for the welfare of students, a decision was made years back, in 2021/2022, with regards to non-EU undergraduate and multi-year postgraduate programmes, with a 10% increase over 4 years starting in 2023/2024. The students’ union at the time dissented, but did not organise protests. As this is a historical decision, and already inscribed into the fee certainty policy, we cannot change this. It stands as a testament to the failure of seat-at-the-table, passive politics, and as further proof that the power of the collective, and direct action, is needed to protect students. We cannot change legacy decisions, but we can fight decisions that College wants to force on us in the present. 

Thus, the time is now to show our opposition to tuition fee hikes, and the use of students as cash cows as well as to oppose the upcoming proposal to hike one-year masters’ degree fees. Nothing must be off the table. We must target the reputation and finances of the College, and make it impossible for them to increase fees. Join the campaign group here!