Waterford IT Students’ Union today called on Senators to support a Labour private members motion this Wednesday rejecting any move to implement an income-contingent loan scheme but instead to publicly invest in third level education.
Waterford IT Students’ Union President Michael Murphy said, “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. Many students here in WIT are on the grant and are struggling to get by – they don’t need this kind of debt weighing them down when they graduate. Education is a public good and should be invested in as such”.
2nd year HC Legal Studies student, Lauren Hayde, said “The only way I would have been able to go to college was if I took out a student loan and I did. I had to take out a €3,000 loan which just covered my accommodation for the year. Taking out this loan has not only left me with a financial burden it has also left my parents with one as if I cannot afford to pay back the monthly repayments of €60 which doesn’t sound like an awful lot – but to a student who cannot find summer work it may as well be hundreds my parents are left to pay it. I took this loan out over 5 years and will be left with this debt once I graduate, so therefore if I am lucky enough to get a job straight out of college the money earned will just go back to paying off this loan. If I had the choice to never take out a loan I wouldn’t.”.
On October 19th, 12,000 people took to the streets against income contingent loans and in favour of publicly funded higher education. The union has emphasised a 363% increase in the student contribution charge from €825 to €3000 while state funding has dropped almost 40%, from €1.4 billion to about €860 million is a failed attempt to plug the funding gap.