Written Answers - Third Level Fees.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 678 No. 3

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  54.  Deputy Arthur Morgan  Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe   his views on the graduate tax that has recently been proposed. [12270/09]

  55.  Deputy Arthur Morgan  Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe   if he has had consultations with his Australian counterpart with regard to their higher education contribution scheme in view of recent proposals to put in place a similar scheme here. [12269/09]

  78.  Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh  Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe   if he will include the Union of Students of Ireland in talks that take place on the proposal to reintroduce third level fees. [12271/09]

Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  I propose to take Questions Nos. 54, 55 and 78 together.

As the Deputies are aware, I am currently finalising a review of policy options relating to the introduction of a form of student contribution. To assist in its examination of the available options, my Department’s review group met with an Australian expert who was involved in the implementation of the Australian income contingent loan model. This was in the context of a general examination of various models in operation internationally. I welcome the views expressed in relation to the graduate tax proposal. The proposal is helpful in its recognition of the desirability of some form of contribution by students to the cost of their higher education. There are many complex and competing considerations including costs, affordability and value for money for the taxpayer which need to be taken into account in considering all of the available options. It is my intention to bring proposals to Government in the near future in relation to the available options.

Finally, I wish to advise the Deputies that I have met with the Union of Students of Ireland and we agreed to have further meetings on a regular basis. These meetings are intended to cover any issues of concern to the Union.


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