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Statement from THEA following announcement of future funding for higher education

Posted on: 04 May 2022

Statement from THEA following announcement of future funding for higher education

We welcome the announcement today by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation, and Science, of the reform of policy on the future of higher education in Ireland.  We have campaigned for that past ten years for increased investment in higher education and for a reform of the funding model in order to benefit the student and support an enhanced higher education system in Ireland.  We welcome the fact that the historic funding deficit is now being addressed by government and that tangible commitment has been made to introduce a long-term sustainable increase in core funding for higher education institutions.

We have consistently communicated our opposition to the introduction of a student loan system as part of a sustainable funding model and we welcome the commitment today from government that student loans do not and will not feature in the funding model.  The technological higher education sector provides access to some of the country’s most economically disadvantaged communities and champions progression through higher education for many of our most challenged student cohorts.  The projected increase in core funding of some €2,000 per student will enable significant increases in sustainable supports and world class infrastructure to the benefit of students and staff.

Welcoming the announcement, Professor Vincent Cunnane, Chair of THEA and President of Technological University of the Shannon said:

“In the years since the 2016 report on sustainable funding was written by Peter Cassells, the higher education landscape in Ireland has changed utterly. Our new Technological Universities are beacons of economic recovery and drivers of growth throughout the island of Ireland.  We have worked hard with our political colleagues to ensure that our priorities as a world class technological higher education system are recognized, that our links with industry and partnerships with regional enterprise are supported, and that our pathways of access to higher education are strengthened.  While we welcome today’s announcement, we recognize that the implementation of this new policy will be critical in terms of directing this investment to those in greatest need and we look forward to working with the Implementation Review Group to ensure this delivery.

“The Minister has clearly outlined that the source of the increase of core funding will be exchequer-based and has secured the approval of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in his exclusion of the possibility of student loans.  We have consistently campaigned against the introduction of student loans and very much welcome this decision on the part of the Minister.

“We very much look forward to working with government to enhance the quality and international standing of the Irish technological higher education sector.  In today’s world of life-long learning, higher education is becoming increasingly relevant and pivotal to the sustainability of an educated, capable, and experienced workforce and we will continue to drive skills and engagement through our multi-campus institutions and industry partners across Ireland.”


For further information please contact:

Róisín O’Connell, Head of Communications, THEA: (087) 9193333; roisin.oconnell@thea.ie

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