University Tuition Fees on IMF Wishlist

Everyone probably realises by now that  the IMF are telling the Irish government how to run the country. It was the IMF that wanted a Property Tax and the IMF pushed in the  Water Charges too. The Personal Insolvency legislation has been instigated by the IMF and the IMF probably brought about the Property Price Register a lot quicker than if  it was left to the government.

Another thing that the IMF seem to be pushing for is the introduction of third level fees –  along with the introduction of student loans to help people pay those fees.

University fees have been around in England for a few years – with annual tuition fees currently as much as £9000 a year in many institutions.

Here in Ireland the IMF pointed out in a 2012 report that a new funding model for higher education is needed  ….  One that that ”
better takes into account emerging skills priorities/shortages, with some linkage of college fees to cost/earnings potential of courses (and supported by affordable loans and grants for poor students)”

Another IMF report in 2012  pointed out that the annual cost of subsidizing college fees for 160,000 Irish students in 2010 was about €1.2bn.
The total (public and private) expenditure per college student is  about €9,800 in Ireland as opposed to €7,700 in the OECD, but the private share of that is relatively low (14 percent in Ireland as opposed to 33 percent in the OECD) .

The IMF report went on to state that the current student contribution is 10-32 percent of actual course costs, representing a “substantial untargeted subsidy”. The report also pointed out that degree-holders earn a 15 percentage point higher wage premium than the OECD average.

The report suggests introducing course  fees to  generate substantial progressive savings which could be deployed to supporting low income students.

Can we expect to see tuition fees in Budget 2014 ?