05 Jul 2018 | 09.03 am
Universities Call For Extra Funding
Irish Universities Association demands €130m increase
05 Jul 2018 | 09.03 am
BY CLAY FISHER
Budget 2019 should be used to inject essential resources into Ireland’s universities, according to Jim Miley, director general of the Irish Universities Association.
According to Miley (pictured): “The Budget must urgently address the underlying quality issues arising and we are seeking an increase of €130m in core current funding and €104m in essential capital upgrades in 2019. State funding per student now is just half what it was ten years ago.”
The €130m increase is comprised of €90m investment in capacity and quality, and €40m to meet cost increases in 2019 arising from national pay awards. The Association says the additional capital investment of €104m is required to address critical upgrades to facilities infrastructure.
Miley added: “It is now 725 days since the Cassells Report was published and the sector cannot continue to deliver without the politicians of Ireland grasping the funding challenge for the university sector. Already this year we have seen a decline in our position in international ranking systems. Without significant additional investment, universities cannot enhance their efforts to improve access and better respond to skills needs across the economy.”
The Cassells Report, Investing in National Ambition, set a strategy for the future funding of higher education along with a choice of options. The funding requirements for the sector, as laid out by Cassells, includes the following key elements:
- An additional €600m per annum in core funding by 2021 as compared with 2015
- A capital investment programme of €5.5 billion by 2030.
“Budget 2018 brought a welcome but modest initial increase in core funding for higher level,” said Miley. “However, the gap in core funding to 2021, based on the Cassells analysis, remains in excess of €550m. That is a massive gap!”
“It is essential that this funding gap is bridged if there is to be any meaningful progress on achieving the government’s ambition to have a ‘best in Europe’ higher education system. Or to put it more bluntly, failure to bridge the gap leaves Ireland trailing behind competing nations.”