Jul 9, 2018

Student Charges to be Reformed, Extending Fee Waivers

The College is bundling all fees and charges into one annual levy, allowing students to waive all charges.

Eleanor O'MahonyEditor
Sinéad Baker for The University Times

Sweeping changes to the way Trinity charges student levies will see the consolidation of charges into one annual levy, allowing for an extension to waivers at a cost of €34,000 to Trinity.

Student charges will be bundled into one annual €191.75 levy that will include the charges students currently pay – the Sports Centre, membership of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and graduation commencement fees – as well as the new student spaces charge. The new student levy system will come into effect at the beginning of 2019/20.

Students currently pay an annual €120 for the Sports Centre, €8 for membership of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and a one-off €135 levy for commencements paid in third year.

The new student levy system comes after College this year failed to charge first and second-year students the student spaces charge as planned. The €30 levy was intended to be charged by Academic Registry to contribute to the building of a €7 million student centre but it was found that it would be too difficult and too costly to implement the change in the system.

To introduce the student spaces charge, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) would have had to pay €60,000 to cover the costs of developing and implementing the charge. The new system was proposed as an alternative by the Academic Registry.

In an email statement to The University Times, TCDSU President Shane De Rís said that the restructuring “makes it more manageable than it previously has been” to pay charges.

“The reduction of the administration cost to the union of the Space Levy also ensures we have more money to invest in the upgrading and creation of new student spaces”, he said.

Waivers are currently only in place for the Sports Centre levy. The new system will see the waiver apply for all charges, reducing the College’s income by €34,358.

De Rís said: ”We welcome the extension of the waiver to cover all of the charges outside the scope of the Student Contribution, this will be a welcome relief to students who are struggling to afford college due to financial hardship.” Waivers will continue to be managed by the Senior Tutor’s office and the Trinity Access Programme.

The Vice-Provost, Chris Morash, in an email statement to The University Times, said: “Basically, there were two motivations behind bundling all of the various student levies together. The main one was to allow the for the introduction of the SU space levy, which students voted for, which will allow the SU to assemble a fund for developing student spaces – which is something everyone welcomes… The second motivation is to make things simpler; instead of having three or four add-on levies, there is now one.”

“The SU and GSU Presidents, out-going and incoming, have welcomed this, and so do I”, he said.

Postgraduate students will also have their charges bundled, with those pursuing one-year courses paying €293. Students enrolled in two-year taught postgraduate courses will pay €293 in their first year and €158 in their second. Undergraduate students undertaking an additional year – in case of a repeat year or a five-year course – in College will be charged the €191.75 levy annually.

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