The Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan has indicated that college registration fees are likely to go up again.
Last year's budget saw a hike of €250 in registration fees.
Asked about her predecessor Ruairi Quinn's plans for a further rise in the coming budget, Ms O'Sullivan said: "What started will continue".
She said: "We've kept it as low as we possibly can and the financial circumstances have been very difficult.
"I don’t know for the future, obviously the economy is recovering and we want to ensure, as far as we can, that we relieve hardship right across the various problems that people have.
"But for the moment the increase that was planned will go ahead."
The Education Minister also said she will do everything in her power to make it affordable for students to go to college.
The latest report from the Irish League of Credit Unions revealed that parents and students are having to work longer hours to meet third-level education bills.
Speaking at St Nessan's Community College in Limerick, Minister O'Sullivan said half of all third-level students are now qualifying for a grant.
She said finance should not be a barrier to education, saying: "About 50% of students now are qualifying for grants, which is a very high percentage.
"And I think that's very important and I want to make sure that that's still available to students, because I would feel very strongly that finance shouldn't be a barrier to any student going on to develop their full potential."