UCC students hit out as capitation fees set to more than double in cost
The increase has been described as “extremely disheartening”.
University College Cork (UCC) Students’ Union has hit out at an increase in the capitation fee at the university, which will rise by over €200 in the next four years.
UCC have confirmed that the capitation fee – which covers membership of the Union of Students of Ireland (USI) and of the Mardyke Sports Arena, is not covered by the Higher Education Grant Scheme and must be paid by all students – will increase from €170 per student to €250 per student for incoming students for 2019/20.
It will be increased in gradual increments from 2019/20 by €200 over four years; by 2023/24, it will have increased to €370 per student. The fee changes do not pertain to existing students.
The fee is in addition to the €3,000 student contribution paid by all by all third level students in Ireland.
In a statement, UCC Students’ Union described the introduction of the increase as “extremely disheartening” and expressed concern that it will be increased again in future “as there are no measures in place to stop it from going up another €200 in three years’ time again”.
Furthermore, the student body hit out at the fact that the increase is being brought in without a referendum, which was requested by the Students’ Union.
“When we look around the country to see what other Universities are doing, it is obvious that while they may have increased their fees in recent years they did so by holding a referendum for students to decide on whether or not the increase should go ahead,” the statement read.
Alan Hayes, Students’ Union President, said of the fee increase: “I understand the college’s rationale, I know there is a lack of state funding for services, but I feel the students are being seen as an easy target.”
In a statement to JOE on the matter on Monday, a UCC spokesperson said: “In recent years, UCC has seen increased pressure on the student services supported by the capitation fee.
“In particular, mental health services, such as counselling and support, student health services, the student assistance fund and sport and recreations facilities, have all seen increased demand. Services supported by the capitation fee are not funded by the Government. This increased fee will go directly back into student services.
“UCC’s capitation fee has historically been among the lowest in Ireland’s higher education system, these fee changes do not pertain to existing students and will be introduced in gradual increments from 2019/20. The current capitation fee is €170 and this will be increased by €80 for 2019/20. The entire increase is €200 over four years.”
Asked why there was no referendum on the issue of the fee request, the spokesperson said: “Previously the Student Union held a referendum for changes to the capitation fee as these changes applied to existing students. UCC has been consistently working with its Students Union on this issue and will continue to work to together with its students to ensure student services are supported.”