As student fees continue to rise, along with lower cut-off points for the grants available, many students are struggling and face the possibility of having to drop out of college.
In the latest report evaluating Ireland’s performance, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suggested that, within the next two years, the government introduce a solution to the financial problems of students: a long-term student loan scheme.
These loans are the norm in the US and Australia. They allow students to repay loans through tax, when they are working and earning enough to afford repayments.
This is not the first time an “affordable loan scheme for tertiary education”, has been suggested. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development suggested a sustainable funding model for higher education that could include student loans.
In a recent report, the Economic and Social Research Institution (ESRI) pointed out how much more Ireland spends on education than countries with the system, noting that Ireland was “in stark contrast to countries such as New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the UK.”
The Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn ruled out the idea back in 2011, pointing out that this scheme takes 17 years to become self-financing.
A spokeswoman for Minister said; “This issue has not been raised directly with [the Government].”
The IMF report does not specify whether or not the loan scheme would cover fees or the grant available to students whose families cannot afford to pay for third-level education.