Warning from universities: Doors closing?

Brian MacCraith, DCU president and chairman of the IUA

The division and indecision around Brexit have all but dominated politics in Britain, Ireland, and Europe for the last number of years. The wretched saga seems interminable and it is exacerbated by the absence of resolute, focussed leadership.

We have our own saga of indecision and it reached an inevitable point this week when the Irish Universities’ Association (IUA) warned that they may have to limit the places offered to Irish students because of funding shortages. It is expected that the number of students trying to access higher education will grow by 25% over the next decade so that situation will disimprove.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last week confirmed there would be no increase in student contribution charges and ruled out a student loan scheme. However, Brian MacCraith, DCU president and chairman of the IUA, said universities could not expand indefinitely without extra State funding. These positions are essentially contradictory and a solution is urgently needed — how ever difficult it may prove.

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