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TD calls for instalment plan to help with student fees

Fine Gael’s Alan Farrell said a monthly direct debit system would ease pressure on families.

Buildings on the campus of Trinity College in Dublin
Buildings on the campus of Trinity College in Dublin
Image: Zadok the Priest via Flickr

A FINE GAEL TD has called for students to be given the option to pay college fees in instalments, saying this would help to ease pressure on struggling families.

Alan Farrell said a monthly direct debit system would make the annual €2,250 college registration fee easier to manage. He added that a “reasonable and manageable payment process” would support the cause of open access to third-level education.

Many colleges currently offer a system under which parents can pay the fee in two instalments. But Farrell suggested a more regular direct debit system would help with recent fee increases. He said:

It is the middle income earners that do not qualify for this [student] grant who may struggle to come up with the money each year, particularly if there is more than one student in the household. Paying this fee on a monthly basis, as opposed to en bloc, will ease pressure on these families.

The Union of Students in Ireland this evening backed Farrell’s call. USI president Gary Redmond told TheJournal.ie that the union had lobbied hard for the two-instalment option, adding: “We’d welcome going a step further and allowing payments on a monthly basis.”

He said the beginning of the college year could be a “huge burden” for families. “We’re not just expecting families to come up with €2,250,” he said. “There’s also €400-500 for a deposit, the first month’s rent, and all the other costs of going back to college.”

More: Student registration fee to rise again by €250>

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