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Dublin: 2 °C Sunday 17 November, 2019

Students meet to decide fees stance after online referendum

The Union of Students in Ireland will hold a special congress following a week-long online vote choosing five options.

A SPECIAL CONGRESS of the country’s students’ unions will be held in Dublin today to decide on whether the Union of Students in Ireland should amend its policy of seeking free fees in favour of alternative funding models for education.

The event in University College Dublin today will see delegates from member colleges nationwide vote in a ‘preferendum’, which will choose one of five potential policy options for the national umbrella union.

The congress follows a week-long online vote, with students from all over the country balloted on their preferences.

Students were asked to indicate whether they would prefer a graduate tax, total exchequer funding, upfront fees, a student contribution, a student loan scheme, or none of the above.

Results from the online vote have been forwarded to individual unions, which may then choose to mandate their delegates to vote in line with their college’s preference.

It has emerged that the totally exchequer-funded option, the union’s current stance, and the student contribution model – which is the current system used in Ireland – are the two most popular options ahead of today’s congress.

Students in several large colleges including UCD, Trinity and UCC opted to pursue a student contribution system, while DIT and NUI Maynooth will vote in favour of retaining the policy of seeking total exchequer funding.

The number of voting delegates appointed by each college is determined by the size of each students’ union.

A formal result of the ballot is expected this afternoon.

Read: High Court dismisses students’ appeal against third-level grant reforms

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Gavan Reilly

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