USI launch High Court challenge against grant reform
The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) are pursuing a High Court case against Minister for Education and Science, viagra Ruairí Quinn in an effort to block the proposed reform of Student Grants which could effect up to 25, health 000 third level students.
On the 19th of July, shop the USI launched a High Court case, against the government, in opposition to the proposed reduction of the ‘non-adjacent grant’. This grant, which is designed for students whose family income cannot support their college fees, and those who have to travel distances greater than 45km, is set to be cut, from the current €6,000, to €2,000. This will, according to the USI, affect “breadline” students who rely on this grant, to pay their tuition.
The Government argues that due to ‘massive improvements’ in infrastructure, commuting students can no longer avail of the grant if they live less than 45km from their institution. The minimum distance requirement for eligible students has increased from 24km to 45 km in the last year alone.
The reforms come despite an alleged promise made to the students’ unions by Mr Quinn, that he would not cut third-level grants in the upcoming budget. Gary Redmond, president of the USI, stated that, “If this cut is not reversed, many students will have no choice but to drop out. He added “This move is a kick in the teeth for many previously involved in the building sector, wishing to upskill on limited means.”
The high court decision, on the grant reform, is expected before Christmas. Justice Pearth will hear the case on the seventh of October.
The USI has introduced a new 2011/2012 Student Plus Card. This card, available to all third level students, promises a wide range of student discounts on fashion, travel, food, and film.
USI President Gary Redmond cited a number of reasons for the introduction of the new scheme. With many colleges no longer offering new student cards at the start of each academic year, retailers are increasingly unwilling to offer deals to students, due to uncertainty regarding the individuals’s current academic status. Also, many students of smaller colleges, who do not provide student ID cards, cannot avail of student deals. The USI claims that the cost of the card, €10, is to be set aside for students’ unions.