‘Support motion to reject income-contingent loans’

Third-level student representatives are urging political support for a Dáil motion that calls for rejection of income-contingent loans.

The Labour Party motion is calling on the Government to reject any move to introduce such a scheme to help fund higher education.

A loans scheme is one of the options put forward in last year’s Cassells report on third-level funding, but political consensus has yet to be reached by the Oireachtas Education Committee which heard evidence on this and other possibilities.

Union of Students in Ireland president Michael Kerrigan called on Seanad members to support tomorrow’s Labour motion, which also calls for a Government policy to end college fees.

“A decision to go ahead with an income-contingent loan scheme will increase emigration and sends a clear message to our future students: take your €20,000 debt, your degree, and get out,” he said.

Education Minister Richard Bruton is awaiting the outcome of the Oireachtas committee’s deliberations before bringing proposals to Government.

He secured the first increase in many years in public funding for higher education in this Budget 2017, and has also proposed to increase employers’ contribution through a higher national training fund levy.

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