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Tag Archives: Union of Students in Ireland

USI offers advice on college choices

The Union of Students is advising students filling out their CAO forms on how to make the right course and college choice. The change of mind deadline is July 1 for the CAO choices and USI is encouraging second level students and mature students to think carefully before committing to a course. The SUSI online student grant application system for 2016/2017 is open on susi.ie “Some students choose courses for the wrong reasons, like if their friends are doing that course, or if it’s closest to home.” Kevin Donoghue, USI president said. “While these things will influence someone’s decision, they should not be the basis or a swaying factor for such an important decision which will have such a huge impact on their future. We would encourage students to follow their interests, strengths and passions, and study something in a field that interests or inspires them. “We are encouraging students to pursue what they love and are good at. Education …

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Students deplore mental health cuts

The Union of Students in Ireland is calling on newly-appointed Minister for Health Simon Harris to reverse the diversion of €12 million from Mental Health Services announced by his predecessor. USI highlighted the dangers in a protest outside the Dáil. “Over 120,000 people took part in the Pieta House’s Darkness into Light walks last Saturday,” USI president, Kevin Donoghue, said. “The annually increasing numbers of people who come out in the early hours of the morning to support Pieta House’s Darkness into Light reflects how Irish people want mental health to be prioritised. The Government needs to prioritise mental health too. This diversion of funds will cost lives. It sends the message that mental health services can wait for funding, but it does not match the reality of the demand. It is an urgent problem at crisis point, requiring urgent action.” USI is calling on Simon Harris to reverse the diversion of the €12 million which was ring-fenced for Mental …

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J1 Visa guide launch

THE Union of Students in Ireland, with support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and American Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley, will launch the J1 Guide 2016 this Tuesday at Leinster House. Since its launch in 1966 the J-1 Summer Work Travel (SWT) programme has welcomed 150,000 Irish young people to the United States. “USI and the Department of Foreign Affairs have produced this latest guide to working and living in America under the J1 visa. It includes tips on staying safe and planning the J1 trip of a lifetime, while being a good ambassador for Ireland and showing the best example to American citizens of how Ireland is today,” Kevin Donoghue, USI president said. USI are advising students who want to take part in the J1 programme this year to sign up early so that they have time to organise a job in advance. The main Irish J1 agents are currently running placement programmes to help students secure a …

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Student loan proposals ‘intimidating’

The new proposed loan scheme for students is overwhelmingly intimidating and will deter students from applying to college, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has claimed. College graduates could face loan repayments in the region of €25 a week over a 15-year period under major reforms to third-level funding proposed in a Government-commissioned report, according to the organisation. A draft report recommends the introduction of a new income-contingent loan system for graduates, increased maintenance grants for students from low income families and a greater contribution from both the State and employers. The findings are contained in a confidential 70-page draft report entitled Funding Irish Higher Education: A Virtuous Circle of Investment, Quality and Verification. USI said that an already broken loan system will only further fracture the structure of the Irish education system. “This would represent a real increase of €7,500 in fees for third level. It is unreasonable to think an increase in the current fee levels should be …

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USI guide for third level students

THE Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is to distribute 35,000 copies of its Accommodation and Finance guide ahead of the new academic term. The guide, which is launched in conjunction with the Private Residential Tenancies Board  (PRTB), gives practical advice to  third level students on securing accommodation. USI president Kevin Donoghue said, “Students will find it particularly difficult to secure accommodation in the coming weeks. This guide provides practical advice on both securing and living in accommodation when it is most needed.” The guides provide useful information for students and parents in relation to financing and budgeting for students in the coming year. USI Welfare officer Aoife Ní Shúilleabhán said, “Starting college can be stressful enough without the added difficulties of the current accommodation concerns. Our guide is designed to alleviate the pressure on students and families by providing both accommodation and financial advice.” The guide will be available online and in USI Freshers’ Bags for students coming into …

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Students facing accommodation crisis

Some Clare students are facing annual rent bills of €7,500 for a shared bedroom in student accommodation in Dublin, and those are the ones who can find a place to live. Describing the situation as an “accommodation crisis”, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has called for “urgent action” to address the housing shortage. NUI Galway confirmed to The Clare Champion that it has sent out 11,000 leaflets to homeowners in the city in an effort to expand its student accommodation portfolio. A general shortage of houses in Galway City, as well as lengthy social housing waiting lists, have compounded the issue. Clara Malone (20) from Bodyke is a third year student at NUI Galway. Despite spending weeks searching, she said “it is almost impossible” to find a house or an apartment. Clara said there seems to be an under-supply of available houses for students in Galway and despite dedicating significant time and effort she has made little progress …

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94% of parents support children in college

THE Union of Students in Ireland has noted with concern the findings of the Irish League of Credit Unions ‘Cost of Third Level Education’ study, which finds that 94% of Irish parents financially support their children through college, leaving 72% of parents struggling. The study has confirmed that one in 10 of those surveyed would even consider turning to a money lender to meet their needs. The credit union figures indicate a 15% increase on the previous year of parents supporting their children and an 8% increase in those struggling to do so. The study, which builds on trends uncovered for the last number of years, finds 40% of parents reaching into their savings to help fund college costs. USI President, Kevin Donoghue said that that this report reaffirms what the organisation has known for the last number of years. “Despite that fact that there has been no change in the rate or threshold of the maintenance grant over the …

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