Access for mature students

 

Madam, – I am a mature student in an Access course in NUI Galway. This course is designed to get people from a disadvantaged socio-economic background into third-level education.

When I started this part-time course in September last year, it was on the premise that both the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) and the maintenance grant would be available to me once I started the degree course next September. Indeed it was the availability of these monies that made going back to college financially possible.

Halfway through my Access course, last month, it emerged that the Government had made cuts in education which mean that when I go on to do my arts degree on September 10th, I will not now receive the maintenance grant.

If this continues to be the case, I will no longer be able to pursue my goal of returning to full-time education.

For the Government to expect us mature students, already paying the weekly bills of an independent life, now to incur the added expense of full-time education on top of this, and survive on €196 a week is ludicrous and out of touch with reality.

I am hugely disappointed and feel let down by a Government, which claimed to be committed to education. I could never again give my vote to any of the current Government involved in these unjustified cuts. – Yours, etc,

NAOISE McDONAGH,

Bothar Stiofan,

Knocknacarra,

Galway.