“Don’t reduce grants”

The annual ETBI Congress passed a motion by Cllr Mary Bohan calling on Minister Ruairi Quinn not to reduce third-level grants or increase college registration fees in the budget.

The annual ETBI Congress passed a motion by Cllr Mary Bohan calling on Minister Ruairi Quinn not to reduce third-level grants or increase college registration fees in the budget.

The Vice President of the ETBI (formerly IVEA) Mary Bohan proposed the motion at the national congress in Naas, Co Kildare last week.

She said “approx 75,000 students and their families depend on maintenance grants each year. These grants have been reduced in the last four budgets in either rate or threshold increase.

“The latest CSO consumer prices survey shows that the cost of education is 4.8% higher now than it was this time last year. The cost of putting children through school and college is one of the greatest expenses facing any family.”

She also noted “the cost of college registration fees went up this month by €250 and these rolling increases will lead to fees costing at least €3,000 in 2014.”

She said the financial strain is causing “stress and anguish for parents and students” and that parents are at “breaking point.”

Cllr Bohan said the average level of grant is €84 per week compared to the lowest rate of job seekers allowance at €100.

Cllr Bohan said she knows many students who have deferred college places until next year because of costs. She asked for support from all politicians.