NERI Seminar: Funding Options for Higher Education

NERI Seminar: Funding Options for Higher Education

The NERI (Nevin Economic Research Institute) will hold its next research seminar on Wednesday 16th April entitled ‘We Need to Talk About Higher Education’.

The NERI seminar series aims to provide a forum for the presentation of research papers on topics of relevance to Irish public policy (North and South) and will take the format of a presentation of the research (25-30mins) followed by a questions and answers/discussion (30-40mins). The series will continue through to July 2014.

The seminars are open to all who are interested and are free to attend.

Details of the next seminar are:


Wednesday 16April 2014


‘We Need to Talk About Higher Education’


Dr Tom Healy, NERI and Austin Delaney


INTO Learning Centre, 38 Parnell Square, Dublin 1 directions available


Tea and coffee from 3:50pm; seminar commences at 4p m


Higher Education is central to Ireland’s future social and economic success. Growth in student numbers together with funding shortfalls have placed acute pressure on the system. It is clear that the current funding arrangement is not sustainable or equitable for households or Government. Further cut backs and increases in student charges/tuition fees may be expected. This paper reviews the evidence on funding across OECD countries. While a number of English-speaking countries have moved towards private funding models including income-contingent loans for students the pattern across European countries, excluding Ireland and the UK, is one of very high public expenditure levels funded by general taxation. This is particularly the case in Nordic countries. The Paper concludes that a publicly funded system is the preferred option which can safeguard the contribution of Higher Education to economic development and social mobility/cohesion and , at the same time, avoid escalating costs and long-term personal debt for graduates. However, to reach EU funding norms will take time. It is suggested that the planned Government charge of €3,000 per full-time undergraduate student in 2015 be capped and consideration be given to increasing the proportion of GDP spent on Higher Education from its 2010 level of 1.6% to 1.9% over a period of time with a rising proportion coming from public sources.A paper, jointly authored with Austin Delaney, is available here.

Keywords: Higher Education, Public Expenditure

To register your interest in attending and for further details please e-mail

Please forward to others who may be interested in attending these seminars.

Further seminars are planned and details will be circulated in advance of these seminars.

The NERI (Nevin Economic Research Institute) is a research company/think-tank on the Irish Economy launched in March 2012 and funded by a number of unions affiliated to the ICTU. It aims ‘to influence policy outcomes that have the greatest effect on the achievement of equity and fairness in the political economy on the Island of Ireland, to the benefit of working people, their families and communities and the enhancement of the quality of life of all people living on the island of Ireland, through the provision of high-quality macro and micro economic research and analyses, awareness raising and capacity building programmes’. The website of the institute is:

For further details contact