On Tuesday afternoon, the University College Dublin Students Union (UCDSU) announced that Graduate entry medical (GEM) students will have their fees frozen for the next two years. The SU and GEM students have been fighting for the fee freeze since 2020, when they began to withhold payment of fees in protest of rising costs.
While the SU have said that fees will not increase for 2021/22, there is no guarantee on a fee freeze for 2022/23. However, the SU have stated “the School has indicated that they are unlikely to raise fees that year either.”
SU President Conor Anderson spoke on the matter, citing student organisation as the reason for the plateau on fee costs. “the School has indicated that they are unlikely to raise fees that year either.” However, Anderson accepts that GEM students demands have not been fully met, and the freeze will provide “much-needed breathing room” for students.
Anderson further touched on the GEM programme to include the SUSI grant, and believes “other student groups would be wise to look to this example as they undertake their own campaigns.”
2nd year GEM student Colin Smyth believes there is still “more to do” in the battle against fee costs. He said: “I am delighted to hear that the UCD school of medicine have made concessions around annual fee increases. A small yet significant battle has been won, but there is more to do: after the two years of frozen fees the 2-4% annual fee increase is still hanging over current GEM students, with zero transparency as to where the money is going.”
The purpose of the GEM programme is purposed to provide an alternative pathway into the medical profession for those who may not have access to traditional pathways. Anderson said “onerous course fees go against that purpose.”
Luke Murphy, Co-Editor