Student movement says cross-border tuition fee protection is major win

NUS-USI has welcomed new legislative provision in the Republic of Ireland that protects students from the UK against higher fees in the Republic of Ireland, which would have resulted due to Brexit. NUS-USI said that this news is a major win for the student movements across these islands who have been campaigning for a number of years to ensure that cross-border student mobility is not damaged by Brexit.

NUS-USI President Olivia Potter-Hughes said: “This is an extremely positive development, which provides protections for students from Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales against higher fees if they chose to study in the Republic of Ireland post-Brexit. This is a major win for collective student movement campaigning as well as for cross-border student mobility.

“This is one element, along with having no hard border, to keeping cross-border student mobility open and accessible, and addresses a key concern that NUS-USI has been raising for a number of years regarding the devastating impact of Brexit.

“North-South and East-West student mobility across these islands is extremely important, and it strengthens good relations and opportunities for students, as well as boosting our education institutions and the economy as a result.

“Politicians in the UK must take a reciprocal approach on this, and I only wish that more politicians in the UK would be as responsive to students and their concerns around Brexit as many politicians in the Republic of Ireland have been.”

President of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), Síona Cahill, said: “We’re delighted to welcome this amendment, which goes some way to protecting students from the UK from the chaos and adversity Brexit is likely to bring. Many students who had their hearts set on studying in Ireland will now be able to breathe a sigh of relief and get stuck in to making plans. Additionally, the decision to accept these amendments should be a clear signal to people in the UK of Ireland’s goodwill and commitment to good relations across these islands. We hope that this move will be reciprocated by the UK.”

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