After vanishing for two years in the wake of the Take Back Trinity protests, the possibility of modular billing being introduced in College resurfaced this week.
The prospect of modular billing has long held great appeal for students – so much so that Trinity persistently pointed to its implementation as the reason for the introduction of an outrageous €450 supplemental fee back in March 2018.
Because of this, modular billing is for some students a concept with a legacy tied to Take Back Trinity. It’s an association so strong that even the broaching of modular billing in the news earlier this week has prompted concern for some.
Of course, in reality, the news that modular billing is back on the table is indisputably a positive thing. When Trinity ditched supplemental fees, it unfortunately threw the baby out with the bathwater by also scrapping modular billing.
Back then, College was adamant that modular billing simply wasn’t possible without supplemental fees. It’s true that the money for this dramatic overhaul to the module payment system had to come from somewhere. But the recent news that modular billing may be reintroduced without supplemental fees is proof that other options do indeed exist.
That Trinity has been forced to reshuffle its budget and dig around for an alternative source of funding for the change is surely a double win for student protestors, showing as it does that with enough pressure even what the powers that be claim is impossible can be made to happen.
The current off-books system, which modular billing would replace, has been called “draconian” by Trinity’s senior tutor. Forcing students who have failed exams to take a year off without access to student services is an anachronism of a Trinity long gone. It’s long overdue that the model is overhauled in favour of something more fair and flexible – and finally, it looks like that may happen.
Modular billing has the potential to change many students’ lives for the better. While we don’t know where exactly the money for its implementation will be pulled from as yet, that it’s once again a talking point is surely cause for optimism.