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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 26 April, 2019
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Students to hold nationwide online vote to decide fees policy

The Union of Students in Ireland will ballot its members nationwide on whether to change their ‘free fees’ policy.

Image: Conor McCabe via Flickr

STUDENTS FROM ACROSS the country are to be asked to vote in a nationwide online poll from tomorrow, the results of which will be used to determine the stance of their national union on whether to change its policy on tuition fees.

The Union of Students in Ireland has established a special website for the online vote, which will begin tomorrow at 1am and continue for one week.

The online vote is being held after students at the union’s national congress last month opted to defer the vote and refer it to a broader base of students.

The ‘preferendum’ – being carried out at usivote.com – will ask students to give their preferences from six funding models for third-level education: a graduate tax, total exchequer funding (the union’s current stance), upfront fees, a student contribution (the current model in place), a student loan scheme, or none of the above.

The vote is being held to reappraise the union’s stance in light of the State’s economic difficulties, and the rising student contribution (formerly the registration fee) which this year stood at €2,250 and which is likely to hit €3,000 by 2015.

Votes will not be tallied on an all-Ireland basis, but will instead be calculated on a college-by-college basis. Those results will then be used by individual colleges as the basis for the votes of their own delegates at a special congress being held in UCD next week.

In order to ensure that only registered members of USI can vote, students will be asked to supply the same usernames and passwords that they use to access their college intranet systems.

These will then be cross-checked electronically with the databases from individual colleges, to ensure that only eligible students will be able to access the voting page.

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

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Gavan Reilly

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