Student demonstration against third-level cuts to take place next month

The USI is expecting 5,000 students to turn out for the march on 19th October

The Union of Students in Ireland has announced its plans for a national demonstration against cuts to third-level education.

The demonstration will take place in Dublin from 1pm on 19th October, with the USI expecting 5,000 students from around the country to take part.

The USI is calling for a major long-term investment in publicly-funded higher education, and says a proposed student loan scheme is "not a viable solution".

The model - one of three alternative models suggested in a government-commissioned report - could see undergraduate tuition costs increasing to between €4,000 and €5,000 a year, or up to €20,000 for a four-year course. 

Annie Hoey, USI President, said: “The status quo isn’t working. Third-level education is unaffordable and our universities are slipping down on the QS World University Rankings.

"The loan scheme option put forward in the Cassells report is unsustainable. It will increase emigration, saddle young people with a mortgage-modelled debt and widen the gap between the rich and the poor," she added.

President of the National Youth Council Ian Power says third-level education is at a tipping point and needs more funding.

"There's been a bit of a silent crisis in the last three or four years," he argued. "Universities have tried to mask the funding crisis with getting extra research income [...] and reducing student-teachers ratios and things.

"But it's coming to a tipping point where we're seeing the quality of the education suffer, we're seeing the rankings of the universities decrease internationally."