LYIT students could be left with a little as 7 euro per week to live on after paying for rented accommodation and living expenses if proposed fee hikes and grant, cuts are to be introduced, Letterkenny Town Council was told at a recent meeting.
Cllr. Gerry McMonagle said that Letterkenny could lose up to 4 million euro in its local economy if the cuts proposed by the Education Minister go ahead.
He said they were a “retrograde step for our young people” and he proposed they write to Minister Ruairi Quinn “in the strongest terms possible” with their concerns.
He said it was a “myth” that local rents were reduced lowering the cost of accommodation and added there would be a great loss to the town’s economy as students would be left with less disposable income.
He said the pre-election promise of no hikes in third level fees was “all in the past now” and families would struggle to send children to college.
“Once they pay out for their digs etc., they can be left with as little as 7 euro for the whole week and they will become dependent on their families and the families don’t have the money anymore. It’s also a myth that rents are down. They are still the same price,” he said.
This “crazy situation” will force parents to “pick and choose” which of their children will receive a third education, he added. Cllr Tom Crossan said in three years time fees could be as high as 3,000 euro and they also had to consider the cost of rents and travel expenses.
He added that many students still have not received their grants this year and this is forcing some to drop out of college and blamed the decentralisation of the grants services to Dublin for the delay.
Cllr Ciaran Brogan said he fully supported the motion added it was “probably one of the best examples” of why people lose faith in politics. He also congratulated Letterkenny man USI president John Logue for his stance on the issue and he should received the Councils full support.
Cllr McMonagle added a student protest march was planned for Letterkenny on November 28, going from LYIT to the offices of local Government representatives.