IRISH undergraduate students have to pay fees of up to €3,000 every year, making it the second most expensive country to go to university in in Europe, with the UK taking the top spot.
The fee in Ireland for undergraduate students has risen significantly over the past decade, while post-graduate students face full tuition fee payments set by higher education institutions themselves which can reach up to €30,000 a year.
However, Ireland is the second-highest in Europe in student support, offering needs-based grants such as the SUSI grant which can supply students with up to €3,000 to €5,000, providing they meet certain criteria. There are no student loans or family allowances available.
In the same bracket is Norway, Italy, Austria, Northern Ireland and the Netherlands. The countries that provide more financial support to students in Europe are Germany and Switzerland, however students do not pay any contribution fee or tuition fee in Germany.
Keeping the comparisons with Germany, international students pay an average of €1,500 in that country, while in Ireland, non-EU students typically pay in excess of €6,000.
Ireland is now considering a new funding model for the higher education sector. Despite calls from some economists for the introduction of a loan scheme, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he wouldn’t want to see “UK-style” loans introduced to Ireland.
Just last month, thousands of Irish students took to the streets for the Union of Students march for education, calling on the government to increase funding for the sector. There is a general frustration at the crippling fees making life extremely difficult for the generation that is to provide us with the doctors, teachers and scientists of the future.