NUI Galway is among the eight Irish universities set to lose a combined €40 million in commercial income in the current academic year.
These figures come from estimates by eight universities across the country including NUI Galway, University of Limerick and Trinity College Dublin, with the figures set to reach €270 million overall.
The loss in commercial income is due to the financial strain that has been placed on colleges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to the loss of additional revenue earned through tourism, conferences, accommodation, and sports facilities.
NUI Galway President and chair of the Irish Universities Association Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh has urged the Government to increase their overall investment in higher education and research by providing a package of more than €900 million for the sector.
“Government have been considering funding reform options for the higher education sector for a number of months, based on an EU-sponsored study,” stated Mr Ó hÓgartaigh.
“Our students deserve better now – and investing in our students is an investment in our future now.”
President Ó hÓgartaigh also stated that it was ‘imperative’ that the Government acts on long-standing funding recommendations in Budget 2022, consistent with commitments previously made in the Programme for Government.
SIN understands that the Irish University Association has also made their own submission proposals for Budget 2022 which will take place in Daíl Eireann on Tuesday, October 22nd.
The proposals are framed around supporting the core elements of the Strategy of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.
The proposals include €155 million in extra core funding, €290 million in capital funding in a Green Campus initiative in line with the Climate Action Plan and €64 million to expand access to higher education for disadvantaged students and fund key initiatives on consent.
There have also been proposals for €83 million euro to be invested on skills to improve upon employment growth and a fund of €37.5 million euro proposed to promote Ireland as a destination for international students.
However, the biggest amount proposed is the €278.5 million euro for research and innovation which will “provide the cutting-edge facilities and the talent to deliver breakthrough research that will sustain Ireland as a globally competitive economy.”
This call from the President of NUI Galway and the Irish Universities Association to invest also coincides with the release of a new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.
The “Education At a Glance 2021” report has ranked Ireland in last place when it comes to investing in education services.
The report ranked 36 countries based on how much of its GDP is spent on education. Ireland only spends 3.6% of its GDP on education which is about 1.6% lower than the OCED average.
Tuition fees set by Irish college for undergraduate degrees were also the most expensive across the data complied across the 36 countries but were lowered for national students due to government support.