Universities, fees and greed

 

Sir, – As a working parent, I have come to the conclusion that you have to be very rich or very poor to qualify for grants or scholarships.

Those of us in the middle-income class who do not meet the threshold of being under a certain reckonable income do not qualify and must pay the full amount of fees and accommodation if our children wish to progress in these third-level institutions.

Some of these institutions, especially universities, see a cash cow when it comes to some courses. What were one-year master’s courses are being extended to two. This means that families who do not qualify for grants, or are not lucky enough to obtain a scholarship, will have to pay double both in fees, accommodation, travel and even at times some pocket money. These master’s course could be completed in one year. Examples of hours in classes in one master’s course shows the extent of the policy. Students are asked to attend classes for only six hours in one week. What could be done in one day is extended to five. Other examples are where classes that could be condensed into one week are extended to six weeks.

This is in order that parents like myself who cannot avail of grants because of our reckonable income will have to pay fees for two years instead of one.

This must stop and those in charge of the courses, and the leaders of these universities, must be held to account for this flagrant abuse and unfairness to our students and parents.

The Department of Education or its inspectors must target and investigate these universities and these courses in order that this abuse is stopped. I want my children to have the best education possible, but not at any price, and there needs to be a level playing field for all. – Yours, etc,

CHRISTY GALLIGAN,

Letterkenny,

Co Donegal.