Provost expresses significant concern regarding forthcoming budget
Posted on: 28 September 2023
Provost Linda Doyle has urged Trinity’s students, staff and alumni to support a call for more funding for the higher education sector in October’s budget.
Describing the sector as “grossly underfunded” by international standards, she highlighted the huge impact the current financial situation is having on students and staff.
You can read the full text of the Provost’s message below.
Last week, the Presidents and Governing Authority Chairs from the eight member universities of the Irish Universities Association wrote to An Taoiseach, An Tánaiste and four government Ministers seeking measures in this year’s budget to address the €307 million annual funding shortfall. The shortfall in core funding was identified in the government’s Funding the Future policy document in May 2022.
Email from Provost Linda Doyle to Trinity’s students, staff and alumni on 28th September 2023:
Dear College community,
As you are well aware, the higher-education sector in Ireland is grossly underfunded. This has major consequences for us and is constantly frustrating our ambitions for Trinity.
It is having a huge impact on our students and staff, our research and teaching, and our student supports.
The Government accepts the sector is underfunded and, in May 2022, published a plan which promised an additional €307 million in core funding annually. But where is it?
In partnership with the Irish Universities Association (IUA), we have been trying to get the Government to honour this promise in the forthcoming budget (10 October). We have even suggested a mechanism to achieve this, as you will see in the letter I have attached.
And yet, in recent days it has become absolutely clear that additional pressure must be brought to bear if this Government is to ever realise its promise of delivering this additional €307 million annually.
I am now asking that we all raise our voices in pushing the Government to deliver on its promise to finally address the chronic underfunding of our sector in the upcoming budget.
We are often told by politicians that they do not hear about this issue ‘on the doorsteps’. This must change. Even if you do not have a vote, your voice matters so please make your voice heard.
Can you please contact your public representatives about this? You can find their contact details here.
And it is important too that the Minister with responsibility for higher education hears from as many of us as possible: Minister Simon Harris.
Another budget cannot be allowed to come and go without meaningful improvement for our sector on core funding. Core funding is absolutely essential to delivering the conditions that will allow us to achieve our ambitions.
Here are a few key points to keep in mind when engaging with public representatives:
- Ireland’s higher education system is grossly underfunded by international standards. This has been highlighted by the OECD, and the European Universities Association “Public Funding Observatory”.
- Action to address both the cost of education for students and the deficit in core funding is essential. There is little point in making it more affordable for students to go to college if they are entering under-funded, financially stressed universities.
- Our students are suffering: we hear reports daily about the impact of the accommodation crisis, about over-stretched student services, and stipends that struggle to meet the current cost of living crisis.
- Our staff are suffering: workloads are mounting, our infrastructure is ageing, and our facilities cannot keep pace with the world’s best.
- Our teaching is suffering due to increasing class sizes and new digital opportunities beyond our financial reach.
- The Government’s progress is painfully slow on delivering the €307M annual shortfall in core funding it identified in 2022. In last year’s budget, only €40M additional was provided in core funding. At that rate, it will take eight years to bridge this gap! We can’t wait.
- For your information, attached is a recent letter sent to Government from the eight IUA Presidents.
As a community of 22,000 students, 4,000 staff and 138,000 alumni we must raise our voices for higher education in Ireland. Government must take immediate action if they really care about higher education in Ireland and the future of our country.
Ní neart go cur le chéile,
You can read the letter sent to Government by the eight IUA Presidents below: