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Budget postgraduate cuts 'will push more onto the dole', say students

Maintenance grants will be axed for postgrad students – who have warned the move could end up costing more in welfare benefits.

Image: James Almond via Flickr

BUDGET CUTS TO maintenance grants for postgraduate students will push people on to the dole – and could end up costing the Government more money, according to a student union.

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin this afternoon confirmed that new postgraduate students will no longer receive maintenance grants. However, he said that a contribution would be made to fees for postgraduate students from low-income backgrounds.

Mary O’Connor, president of the Graduate Students’ Union at Trinity College Dublin, said the move will hurt Ireland’s international standing – as well as potentially being a revenue negative measure.

“Now a number of these students won’t be taking up a postgraduate course, and they might be on the dole,” she told TheJournal.ie. “That is actually more money from the Government.”

She said funding a postgraduate student costs between €3,000 and €6,000 a year, whereas a person on jobseeker’s benefit would receive in the region of €10,000.

“It’s going to hurt our rankings internationally,” she added. “Our leading research universities in Ireland will be affected. Obviously many Irish postgraduate students, particularly in the arts and humanities, will not be able to research in Ireland so will have to go elsewhere.”

O’Connor said around 400 students at Trinity alone are currently in receipt of a postgraduate maintenance grant.

Minister Howlin said that ending the grant would save around €12.6million for the Government.

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Michael Freeman

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