Tuesday, 13 June 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
389. Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason a person (details supplied) in County Sligo has to pay fees for their studies as they are the holder of an Irish passport; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22653/06]
Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): Under the terms of the Free Fees Initiative the Exchequer meets the tuition fees of students who are first-time undergraduates and hold EU nationality or official refugee status and have been ordinarily resident in an EU Member State for at least three of the five years preceding their entry to an approved third level course. It is a matter for each institution to determine students eligibility for free fees under my Department’s Free Fees Initiative.
I would emphasise the distinction between the criteria that determines eligibility under the Free Fees Initiative, and the criteria by which individual institutions establish what rates of tuition fees should be charged, in cases where a student does not qualify for free fees. The universities are autonomous bodies and, as such, may determine the level of fees to be charged in cases where the Free Fees Initiative does not apply.
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