Students at Limerick agriculture course face two sets of fees

Dispute between colleges over HEA funding split means students pay on double

Limerick Institute of Technology, which charges students the regular €3,000 student contribution fee, while Pallaskenry Agricultural College charges a further €1,700

Limerick Institute of Technology, which charges students the regular €3,000 student contribution fee, while Pallaskenry Agricultural College charges a further €1,700

 

Students looking to undertake a two-year level six course offered by Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) will have to pay a double fee, amounting to €4,700, to enter the course.

Agricultural mechanisation is offered by LIT and is taught between LIT and Pallaskenry Agricultural College. The two colleges are in dispute over how Higher Education Authority (HEA) funding is split between them.

Students on this National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) level six course are awarded a higher certificate and can go on to complete a level seven ordinary bachelor degree. In their first year, students spend four days a week at Pallaskenry and one day at LIT. In the following year, they spend three days at Pallaskenry and two at LIT.

Students must pay two fees for each year of the course, the regular €3,000 student contribution fee, which goes to LIT, plus a minimum of €1,700 to Pallaskenry. The €1,700 charged by Pallaskenry includes a daily meal for students, plus the cost of insurance, electricity and upkeep of equipment.

Cost to college

“It is costing us to run the course. We are losing money on it,” Mr O’Donoghue said.

He added that the course will be up for review in 12 months’ time, and he is hopeful the funding issue can be resolved. “There is no reason why students should have to pay two fees. It makes it very expensive for them.”

A HEA spokesperson confirmed that Pallaskenry does not receive any funding from it to run the course. LIT receives the HEA funding for the course and LIT decides how funding is shared.