A student’s look
The government has unveiled the annual Budget for the coming year it comes with a number of developments that may be of interest to NUI Galway students.
Measures announced include changes to the SUSI grant, how young people can make use of public transport and efforts to tackle issues surrounding access to contraception.
Higher education funding
Higher education is set to receive a total of €68 million in funding for 2022.
This will include a €200 increase to the SUSI maintenance grant. It will be the first time the SUSI grant has increased in a decade and will apply from September 2022.
Eligibility for the SUSI grant will also widen with the threshold set to rise by €1,000. The qualifying distance threshold for students living away from home will also be reduced from 45km to 30km.
All citizens aged between 19 and 23 will be able to benefit from a new public transport discount scheme.
It will see a new Youth Travel Card released, similar to the existing Leap Card, which will offer half-price fares to those who avail of it.
Student fares are currently 30% less than adult fares with the Youth Travel Card to offer fares that are 50% less from the middle of next year.
The Budget also includes the provision of free contraception for all women aged 17 to 25 as part of a €31 million women’s health plan.
This will include contraceptive items such as condoms as well as the fitting or removal of other long-acting methods of contraceptive and will apply from August 2022.
In addition to access to free contraceptive products, women in this age category will also be eligible for two free GP consultations per year to discuss and prescribe contraceptive products.
The government has placed an emphasis on tackling the climate crisis in Budget 2022.
This includes an increase to the Carbon Tax by €7.50 to €41 per tonne of carbon dioxide emission. There is also a commitment for the same increase of €7.50 to apply annually until 2029.
In announcing this measure, the government said the funds generated by the rise in Carbon Tax would “be spent on schemes working towards climate action.”
These schemes include assisting farmers in transitioning to more green, climate friendly practices and providing grants for people to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
At a glance
Other measures coming under Budget 2022 include the annual 50 cent increase to the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes, a recurring feature of the last seven Budgets.
The national minimum wage will rise to €10.50 an hour for people aged 20 and over, an increase of 30 cent.
Budget 2022 also includes a commitment to providing 11,820 social houses, 9,000 of which will be new builds.