Third-level education and loans system


Sir, – John Thompson (May 16th) proposes a system of financial incentives for students to study third-level courses in areas where there is a skills shortage.

Such incentives would encourage students to choose a course based on affordability, instead of their interest in the subject or their aptitude for it.

Many students already apply for courses for the wrong reasons, for example, to maximise the perceived value of their Leaving Certificate points or gain entry to today’s in-demand professions.

The end result is high “dropout” rates and students who struggle unhappily through third level.

John Thompson’s proposal is worthy of consideration only in as far as it can make all subjects equally affordable for students.

The relatively high cost of educating students in areas such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics and medicine should be taken out of the equation. If we are to adopt an income-contingent loans system, it should be income-contingent, not subject-contingent. – Yours, etc,



Co Wexford.