On Tuesday the 17th of September the IUA presented the Budgetary Oversight Committee with their views in context of budget cuts to university funding. The Director General of the IUA has told Oireachtas Committee for Budgetary Oversight that the funding problem facing third level institutions will get “considerably worse” unless there is a significant step-up in investment to support our growing student base.

Statistics show that funding per student in Ireland is half of what it was in 2008 and that funding increases are outpacing student growth in countries like Austria, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. This is a significant disproportionality which has been highlighted by the Irish Universities Association. The IUA which is the representative association for the seven Irish universities and among its roles are to advocate for the best policies and strategies for the Irish university system. 

irish university budget cuts

Jim Miley, in opening remarks to the Budgetary Oversight Committee said: “In spite of modest funding increases in the last two budgets, the State funding per student remains 43% below where it was 10 years ago. The recent increases have been largely mopped up by rising student numbers. Given demographics, numbers attending third level will continue to increase over the next decade with 40,000 extra students to be catered for by 2030 as compared with 2015.” 

In its pre-budget submission, the IUA highlighted that Irish universities contribute €9 billion to the Irish economy each year, being at the centre of enterprise and innovation. They require €377 in Budget 2020 to meet the growing levels of students seeking third level education and research and capital investment needs. 

In this innovation driven society, Director General, Jim Miley stressed the necessity for remaining competitive globally. It was stated that politicians should take strides in ensuring that Ireland does not lag behind other countries in the university system under which its youth are educated.


Manny Choudhry – Reporter