‘Once-off’ €1,000 reduction in student registration charge may be retained

Measures to clip cost of further and higher education to be considered ahead of budget, says Paschal Donohue

The Government is considering retaining a “once-off” €1,000 reduction in the student registration charge as it weighs up its options in the run-up to Budget 2024.

The €3,000 student registration charge was cut last year on what the Coalition described as a once-off basis, while student grants were also increased.

Speaking at the launch of the latest €220 million phase of Technological University Dublin’s new campus at Grangegorman, Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe said the Government has made “improvements to help with the cost of higher and further education, including a significant once-off change we made last year as part of our cost-of-living package. We’ll consider that again as part of Budget 2024. We’re many months away from making those decisions yet, but we’re well aware of the costs students and families face.”

A focus remains on making student accommodation more affordable, he said. This has involved the State part-funding the construction of on-campus student beds in return for lower rents.


“We appreciate that higher and further education is expensive. We appreciate in particular that student accommodation can be a challenge for many, and it’s something we want to make more progress on,” he said. “It’s an expensive time for many coming to college, but it has the most extraordinary benefit.”

TU Dublin officially unveiled its new East Quad and Central Quad, along with restored buildings known as the Lower House and Rathdown House. The campus now accommodates more than 10,000 students.

The college sold its former DIT campus buildings across Dublin to consolidate all its city-centre activities on the purpose-built campus.

However, TU Dublin president David FitzPatrick said uncertainty in the commercial property market, coupled with a substantial increase in construction costs, were “hampering” plans for the next phase of the development.

“We look forward to working with Minister Donohoe and his colleagues to find alternative funding solutions to progress our campus development plans and build on-campus accommodation, providing future TU Dublin students, including those sitting Leaving Certificate examinations next week, with a world-class university experience,” he said.

The East Quad, which accommodates almost 4,000 students, includes a multidisciplinary arts space for Dublin, featuring a 340-seat concert hall and a range of exhibition spaces.

The Central Quad caters for approximately 6,000 students studying science, health, culinary arts, tourism, hospitality, computer science and engineering at the heart of the Grangegorman campus. Facilities include laboratories, kitchens and hospitality training areas, large lecture hall and 250-seat auditorium.

Prof FitzPatrick, said the latest phase of the campus represents a significant landmark in its ambition to deliver a “world-leading university campus in the heart of Dublin city. Today, we celebrate the wonderful progress that we have made, yet we are less than halfway through the construction planned for this transformative investment for the university.”

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent