All third-level students will see a once-off reduction of €1,000 in their college fees this year, as part of Budget 2023.

There will also be a once-off double monthly payment for those in receipt of a SUSI grant.

As part of the measures announced by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, there will also be a once-off €1,000 increase to the post-graduate fee contribution grant.

These temporary measures precede an ongoing reduction to the student contribution fee by €500 for students from families with incomes of between €62,000 and €100,000, to come into effect next September.

From then, the limit to qualify for a 50% reduction in contribution fees under SUSI will be increased from €55,240 to €62,000, and all SUSI maintenance grants will be increased by between 10 and 14%.

The post-graduate fee grant will increase by €500, and the PhD stipend will increase also.

A total of €3.9 billion has been allocated to the higher education sector.

Funding will be provided to create an additional 4,800 apprenticeship places, more than 11,000 upskilling and reskilling "opportunities" for sectors most impacted by Brexit, with over 2,000 Skillnet places in sustainable finance, green tech and climate change.

The Minister also said he would extend the 20% public transport fare reduction and the Youth Travel Card discount of 50% on all operators' services to the end of next year.

Reduction in fees should be 'permanent'

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) said the Government should have made the €1,000 reduction to college fees permanent and not just a once-off.

It said the cut had also come too late for students who have already deferred their places in college this year because they could not afford the costs.

USI President, Beth O'Reilly said the budget was a missed opportunity to start the move towards abolishing fees. She said the 'once-off’ reduction would be quickly spent on high rents and soaring costs of living.

"We also don’t see any measures in this Budget to address the serious student accommodation crisis," Ms O’Reilly said, "which is making college inaccessible, or an extreme hardship, for many".

The Irish Universities Association said that while there were many positive elements for higher education, the amount provided for the deficit in core funding at €40m was very disappointing.

It said this represents just 13% of the €307m gap in funding identified by the government. It called for an acceleration of the government response to the funding crisis in the sector in line with a commitment given just 4 months ago in a document, Funding the Future.

The IUA said measures to provide extra supports for students were "welcome and much needed". However, it said it ‘noted’ that there was no specific provision for the expansion of much-needed student accommodation.

It said this was " order to begin to address the crisis currently being experienced by our students".