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Should businesses help to fund higher education? The TUI thinks so

The union said a 1% levy on profits could be used to remove the €3,000 student registration fee.

Image: Shutterstock/heromen30

THE TEACHERS’ UNION of Ireland (TUI) has called for the introduction of a 1% levy on corporate profits to generate additional funding for the higher education sector.

The TUI represents 15,000 members, including 4,000 people in Institutes of Technology.

It said the corporate sector “derives invaluable benefit from the Irish graduate labour pool” and the proposed levy “would facilitate the employment of thousands of additional academic staff and could even be used to remove the €3,000 student registration fee”.

Last month TUI members in the sector engaged in a day’s strike action over what they view as “underfunding, understaffing, the precarious employment status of many staff and the resulting detrimental effect on the service to students”.

Speaking today, TUI General Secretary John MacGabhann said that as student numbers continue to rise the “huge funding crisis in the third level education sector” will get worse unless action is taken.

McGabhan said the proposed levy would provide additional funding for higher education and is not being put forward as an alternative to exchequer funding.

We would also stress that this would be a dedicated higher education levy rather than a general increase in the rate of corporation tax in order to ensure that the fund would only be used for the intended purpose.

McGabhan said the levy would “further enhance the quality of the graduate labour pool … and ultimately the sustainability of the enterprises that contribute to the fund”.

‘Unsustainable workloads’

The union said the revenue the levy would generate is “considerable” and provided the below figures as an example:

levy Source: TUI

“At 12.5%, the standard rate of corporation tax in Ireland is low by international standards, having been reduced dramatically in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It is also usually acknowledged that the effective rate is lower than the standard rate.

“The application of a further 1% would represent only a modest readjustment and would not inhibit inward investment or employment generation,” a statement read.

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The TUI noted that funding for the Institute of Technology sector fell by €190 million (35%) between 2008 and 2015. Over the same period, student numbers rose by 21,411 (32%) while 535 (9.5%) lecturing positions were lost.

“Lecturer workload has reached unsustainable levels, staff morale has been severely damaged and the capacity to deliver a quality service to students has been adversely affected,” the union said in a statement.

So, what do you think?

Should companies pay a 1% levy on their profits to help fund higher education?

Poll Results:

Yes (1251)
No (1014)
I'm not sure (186)

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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