End to Treasury subsidy for RoI students

The government has ended the practice of paying course fees for 4,000 students at Northern Ireland Further Education Colleges who live in the Republic of Ireland. The decision was taken after a £8m reduction in the FE budget for Northern Ireland and this move will save £11m. The Irish Department of Education and Science has turned down appeals that they now meet the costs. Students from southern border counties are expected to be particularly effected.

  • slug

    As a British taxpayer I am shocked that my hard earned tax pounds has been used to finance students from one of the wealthiest countries on planet earth.

  • Greenflag

    Without these 4,000 can NI’s FE Colleges survive ?

  • Hmm…

    slug:
    Yes, I’m inclined to agree, but note that these are only course fees, so the money is essentially remaining within Northern Ireland, and while the students will feel the pinch, so will the FE colleges who will probably wind up poorer, with knock-on effects for NI students who may end up with a smaller range of courses to choose from and a diminishing number of colleges to attend.

  • fair_deal

    Greenflag/Hmmm

    It will come down to how many of the 4000 find the course fees from elsewhere or succeed in gaining a DEL Loan. Technically the treasury move gives an extra £3m for local students.

  • idunnomeself

    ‘Rival colleges in the northeast of the Southern state’

    where in the name of goodness is that??

    such tortured idealistic prose..

  • na

    When the layoffs start in the north, when the number of courses offered shrinks and the further education sector in the south benefits from increased intake it’ll show the benefits being missed in the north by failing to cooperate on education as the agreement promises. It’ll be students here that suffer by the governments failing to work this out, of course the British don’t want to fund Irish students, of course the Irish don’t want to pay the British for something students aren’t charged for in their jurisdiction.

    The bean counters will have more beans, we’ll have less teachers and courses.

  • k

    As someone who works in the FE sector this is a disgraceful decision. For many southern students, colleges in Newry and Derry are closer than those in the Republic.
    It won’t mean any extra money for ‘local’ students. DEL will simply save a few quid.
    In terms of integrated education and cross border ties, the FE colleges are an example to the rest of the education sector. For many students who will never make it to university, they are the first and maybe only place that they interact with prods/taigs/southerners.
    However, there is a solution. The Dept will fund anyone with a Northern address so anybody feel like registering a few southern students in their house??

  • slug

    “As someone who works in the FE sector this is a disgraceful decision. For many southern students, colleges in Newry and Derry are closer than those in the Republic.”

    Sure, but why cant their own country, the richest country on planet earth, pay fot them? Why do I as a taxpayer of the UK have to pay for ROI students? Its a nonsense we ever did!

  • Tochais Siorai

    They can’t do this under EU law surely. My understanding is that the same privileges which apply to people in their home state must be afforded to citizens of another EU state who travel there to work or study or are there exceptions to this rule?

  • slug

    “They can’t do this under EU law surely. My understanding is that the same privileges which apply to people in their home state must be afforded to citizens of another EU state who travel there to work or study or are there exceptions to this rule? ”

    Wrong. The UK doesn’t have to finance other countries students. They have to charge the same fee, that is all.

    Since the ROI is the richest country on planet earth, they should jolly well finance their own people.

  • John East Belfast

    interesting that the loudest squeeling against this are nationalist posters never slow to point out the subsidised nature of the Northern State.

    This is another way to reduce our bloated public sector – if teachers have to retrain and do something creative because there arent enough local students then all and good

    I have never heard the like of it – my taxes going to pay for another jurisdiction’s education. It should have been stopped long ago.

    It just goes to prove though that all this talk about economic union between north and south preceding any political union is nonsense.

    Fiscal boundaries should and will be respected.

  • k

    As far as paying taxes. I live on the Border and derive much more benefit from having extra engineers, plumbers, mechanics etc based in Louth or Monaghan than paying my taxes towards a media studies HND for someone in Essex.
    Unionists need to recognise that improvements in the border counties benefit people in the north as well. I use leisure facilites in Dundalk regularly. These are paid for by the southern taxpayer. Maybe they should check passports at the door to ensure no Northies get to use their facilities for free?
    As far as I’m aware this was all part of a reciprocal arrangement. Northern students could get their fees paid if they went down south but for reasons of geography few do.
    This will change very soon though. The amalgamation of the FE colleges means that, for instance, students in Forkhill will be told that their course has now moved to Portadown. For political and practical (public transport or lack thereof) reasons, this will result in most of S.Armagh and Newry heading to college in Dundalk.
    If unionists want to whinge about taxpayers money being wasted, how about this? College Principals are part of a performance related bonus scheme (on top of their basic 6 figure wage!). The bonus is paid at either average, good or excellent level. Guess how many rated excellent? Answer: 15/16 with one principle being rated as excellent even though he had been on leave all year!

  • Hmm…

    John East Belfast,
    I fully agree that the South should pay up but only wanted to point out that this decision is likely to have a negative impact on students and institutions here in the North.

  • About time, I think, is the correct response.

    Quite why the British tax-payer is funding foreign students is odd – espeically given the economic nirvana from when these students hail.

    Not a penny more.

  • Occasional Commentator

    DV,
    The British and Irish taxpayers in the UK will continue to subsidise ‘foreign’ students just as much (or as little) as they subsidise the local students. It appears that the particular subsidy being cancelled now was a subsidy where the RoI-based students didn’t have to pay the same fees that the NI-based students have to pay.

    If that is the case, and it’s difficult to find the answer among all the ignorant knee jerk reactions on this thread, then it’s a good thing.

    But the course fees which everyone will now have to pay are probably only a tiny fraction of what it actually costs to teach them.

  • Occasional Commentator

    John East Belfast: “I have never heard the like of it – my taxes going to pay for another jurisdiction’s education. It should have been stopped long ago.

    It will continue long after this decision has been implemented. This decision is to make sure the RoI students are subsidised to the same extent as NI students, and no more.

  • Tochais Siorai

    So students from the Rep had their fees paid up to now and NI students didn’t???

    This was obviously after some intense lobbying by northern publicans to attract students from the ‘….richest country on planet earth,….’ so they’d bring sackloads of euro to prop up the NI drinks industry.

  • k

    A lot of misinformation on this thread.
    The case at the minute is that students under 18 doing National Diploma courses (FE) have their fees paid for by the state irrespective of where in the EU their home address is. Now students with a 6 county address will continue to have this fee paid (no means testing) but those with a 26 county address will not.

  • Occasional Commentator

    It appears I made a mistake.
    k, does the EU policy on all EU students being treated the same only apply to people over 18? (Or should I say 3rd level?).

  • k

    Over 18 is Higher Education and is a completely different kettle of fish.
    All EU citizens must be charged equally i.e. the level of fees charged must be the same but who pays the fees (state or student) is another matter. This does of course lead to a lot of anomalies. For instance English students are charged fees in England but not in Scotland!
    The funding model here is an absolute dog’s dinner. Most colleges employ several admin staff just to try to keep up to date as it seems to change every month. A certain amount of reciprocal good will was in place with colleges in the south. This seems to have disappeared now. One thing is guaranteed, no money will be saved by this. The southern students will simply register with northern addresses, problem solved.

  • páid

    K

    The southern students will simply register with northern addresses, problem solved

    Can I suggest that this procedure be known as the “sky digibox solution”? 😉

  • slug

    “The southern students will simply register with northern addresses, problem solved”

    Shameful to think that residents of the richest nation on planet earth would have to resort to stealing from a poorer neighbour.

  • na

    Slug,

    Shameful? A contributor on Slugger’s has suggested it; I really doubt it will happen. Do you have any reason other than an individual’s rambling on Slugger’s to assume that these 4,000 plus young Irish people every year are likely to become engage in criminal activity to receive their preferred education?

    An Roinn Oideachais Agus Eolaíochta’s shameful decision to deny the funds after the understandable British decision will likely lead to students in southern border counties being forced to travel further, accept inappropriate course but not criminality and of course we should expect job losses in the north and reduced choice in courses for all. Also as our FE sector is being further curtailed at present those northern students that could look for closer appropriate courses in the south will be denied that opportunity too.

    It’s shameful that bean counters get to make education for students in border areas more difficult than it should be.

  • Yokel

    Not bad thing at all, Higher education here could do with the contraction, its becoming meaningless.

  • Congal Claen

    It’s my understanding that the RoI opted out from the start of this EU agreement to pay the fees of students from other EU countries. Why should my tax go to help students from the RoI when no such help will be offered to students from NI wanting to study in Trinity say? Long overdue…

  • slug

    “It’s my understanding that the RoI opted out from the start of this EU agreement to pay the fees of students from other EU countries. Why should my tax go to help students from the RoI when no such help will be offered to students from NI wanting to study in Trinity say? Long overdue… ”

    Well said. Especially considering that the RoI is the richest country on planet earth.

  • na

    (bump)

    The SDLP are asking the Irish Government to pay for a PSNI college just after the British Government remove college funding for border area Southerners. Bizarre.