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NUI GALWAY STUDENT LEVY 2021

NUI GALWAY

STUDENT LEVY


NUI GALWAY STUDENT LEVY 2021

On Thursday 22 April, students get to decide if they wish to make a change to the levy. If a majority of students vote Yes, the levy will reduce to €140.00 from next September. If a majority of students vote No, the levy will remain at €224.00.


NUI GALWAY STUDENT LEVY 2021 NUI GALWAY STUDENT LEVY Background Third level students in Ireland each pay €3,000 per year as a Student Contribution. The rate is set by the government and has been in place since 2015. Many third level institutions also charge an additional student levy. A student levy is payable in addition to the annual €3,000 Student Contribution. The NUI Galway levy began in 1997 as a IR£30.00 (€38.00) charge. Over the years there have been a number of referenda to add various elements and to increase allocations. The biggest and most recent increase was the introduction of the €100.00 charge for the Sports Centre (first collected in September 2007) which brought the total levy to €224.00 per student. Over the past number of years, students have queried various elements of the levy, particularly the €100 contribution to the Sports Centre. A Working Group was established in 2019 made up of SU officers and students to review various elements of the levy, and to make recommendations on how the levy could be amended to provide better value for students. In November 2020 Comhairle Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn (SU Council) considered the proposals of the Working Group and mandated the Students’ Union to hold a referendum on a new levy.


NUI GALWAY STUDENT LEVY 2021

THE PROPOSED LEVY The proposal by Comhairle Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn seeks to reduce the levy from €224 to €140. The changes to how the levy fund would be distributed are outlined below: Societies Clubs Students’ Union Student Health Unit Áras na Mac Léinn Flirt FM Student Project Fund Sports Centre CÉIM Total

Current Levy €19.28 €19.28 €25.14 €18.46 €17.23 €4.92 €19.69 €100.00 €0.00 €224.00

Proposed Levy €25.00 €25.00 €40.00 €22.00 €3.00 €6.00 €5.00 €0.00 €14.00 €140.00

% of Levy 17.86% 17.86% 28.57% 19% 2.14% 4.29% 3.57% 0% 10%

Difference €5.72 €5.72 €14.86 €3.54 -€14.23 €1.08 -€14.69 -€100.00 €14.00 -€84.00


NUI GALWAY STUDENT LEVY 2021 Societies Current allocation: Proposed allocation: Difference:

€19.28 €25.00 +€5.72

Societies are an extremely important part of student life. NUI Galway has some of the best societies in the country and any increase in funding would likely benefit the thousands of students who regularly engage with societies’ activities. The student levy contributed €315,000 to Societies in 2020. The proposed levy would increase that figure to €408,000. It is important to note that every other third level institution funds its societies from central funds. In addition to the increased levy funding, the Students’ Union encourages the University to review the level of funding it makes to such a valuable service. Clubs Current allocation: Proposed allocation: Difference:

€19.28 €25.00 +€5.72

There are over fifty active clubs in the University. NUI Galway’s Sport and Recreation Unit has a mission to promote participation in sport and physical activities to support the relationship between academic performance, health and well-being. The student levy contributed €315,000 to Clubs in 2020. The proposed levy would increase that figure to €408,000. It is important to note that every other third level institution funds its societies from central funds. In addition to the increased levy funding, the Students’ Union encourages the University to review the level of funding it makes to such a valuable service.


NUI GALWAY STUDENT LEVY 2021 Clubs Current allocation: Proposed allocation: Difference:

€19.28 €25.00 +€5.72

There are over fifty active clubs in the University. NUI Galway’s Sport and Recreation Unit has a mission to promote participation in sport and physical activities to support the relationship between academic performance, health and well-being. The student levy contributed €315,000 to Clubs in 2020. The proposed levy would increase that figure to €408,000. It is important to note that every other third level institution funds its societies from central funds. In addition to the increased levy funding, the Students’ Union encourages the University to review the level of funding it makes to such a valuable service. Student Health Unit Current allocation: Proposed allocation: Difference:

€19.28 €22.00 +€2.72

Although The Student Health Unit is often advertised as a free service to students, in reality it’s not. Every student pays an upfront annual fee in the student levy, even those who hold medical cards. There are also charges for many services such as Dressings, Stitches, Contraception and Physio. However, the Student Health Unit is a necessary and valuable service and increased funding should help to improve the service available to students. The student levy contributed €301,000 to the Student Health Unit in 2020. The proposed levy would increase that figure to €359,000.


NUI GALWAY STUDENT LEVY 2021

Students’ Union Current allocation: Proposed allocation: Difference:

€25.14 €40.00 +€14.86

NUI Galway Students’ Union receives less funding from the Student Contribution compared to any other students’ union in the country. The Students’ Union provides an extremely important role in the University, but requires adequate funding to do so. The student levy contributed €410,000 to the Students’ Union in 2020. The proposed levy would increase that figure to €653,000. The increased funding would allow the Students’ Union to further develop the services it offers to students. As mandated by SU Council, €3.00 per FTE student will be ring-fenced for the promotion of the Irish language. Áras na Mac Léinn Fund Current allocation: €17.23 Proposed allocation: €6.00 Difference: -€14.23 The Áras na Mac Léinn levy was introduced to pay for the construction of Áras na Mac Léinn and thereafter the running costs associated with the building. Any surplus was originally intended to be “employed in the main for capital developments of a student services nature”. Currently, the fund is used to pay running costs of Áras na Mac Léinn. The fund has also been used for various renovation projects in the building, but also for other projects like water coolers in other parts of campus. Whilst the provision of such facilities is important, it is ridiculous that students are charged a levy for such basic services. Recognising the original agreement to contribute to the running costs of Áras na Mac Léinn, a reduction seems appropriate. Any deficit in running costs could be funded from the use of the Bailey Allen Hall for commercial events. The student levy contributed €281,000 to the Áras na Mac Léinn Fund in 2020. The proposed levy would reduce that figure to €49,000.


NUI GALWAY STUDENT LEVY 2021 FlirtFM Current allocation: Proposed allocation: Difference:

€4.92 €6.00 +€1.08

FlirtFM is one of the few remaining campus radio stations and is an important outlet for many students with an interest in media and the arts. FlirtFM provides training and work experience for media students and has been a constant presence in NUI Galway for over 25 years. The student levy contributed €80,000 to the FlirtFM in 2020. The proposed levy would increase that figure to €98,000. Student Project Fund Current allocation: Proposed allocation: Difference:

€19.69 €5.00 -€14.69

Projects with a timeframe of up to three years and costing €5,000 or greater are eligible to be considered for funding from the Student Project Fund. Initiatives that substantially contribute to the realisation of the Student Project Fund Strategic Priorities are prioritised in the evaluation framework. The Student Project Fund is funded from the Student Contribution, the Student Levy and a portion of Licence Fees from NUI Galway Students’ Union Commercial Services Ltd. Some clubs and societies activities, as well as initiatives like SMART Consent and the refurbishment of the Chapel Common Room, are funded by the Student Project Fund. There is no question that many valuable projects are funded by the Student Projects Fund, however, students have questioned why they should be paying an additional levy for those services. The student levy contributed €321,000 to the Student Project Fund in 2020. The proposed levy would reduce that figure to €82,000. The Students’ Union believes that the current allocation from the Student Contribution of approximately €500,000 per annum to the Student Project Fund, as well as the contribution from Students’ Union Commercial Services Ltd licence fees, are obviously not linked to the student levy and should remain.


NUI GALWAY STUDENT LEVY 2021

CÉIM Current allocation: Proposed allocation: Difference:

€0 €14.00 +€14.00

CÉIM is a peer learning programme that was introduced by the Students’ Union in 2013. Research on the benefits of CÉIM to students shows higher grades, greater engagement and an improvement in student retention, which has a postie effect on the level of lost revenue due to student dropout. In the 2019 QQI CINNTE Review of NUI Galway, CÉIM was highlighted as one of the “Top 5 Commendations”, and the Review also recommended that CÉIM should be mainstreamed. The proposed allocation would contribute €228,000 to CÉIM which should allow the programme to be extended to all first year students. Sports Centre Current allocation: Proposed allocation: Difference:

€100.00 €0 -€100.00

The Sports Centre Levy is the most contentious element of the current student levy and its continued collection has been the source of frustration for many years. The University has suggested that the cancellation of this element of the levy will create a €5.5m “bad debt” and there has been suggestions that services to students could be cut as a result. The Students’ Union rejects the existence of the debt and vehemently opposes suggestions that funding for any student services would be cut as a result of this referendum. It’s worth reviewing the history of the Sports Centre Levy to gain a full understanding of why the Students’ Union is proposing its removal. We have outlined the history of the Sports Centre Levy in a separate document.


NUI GALWAY STUDENT LEVY 2021 Frequently Asked Questions Does everybody have to pay the levy? Yes. Regardless of any supports you may receive from SUSI, everybody has to pay the levy. I don’t play sports or use the gym. Do I still have to pay the levy? Yes. The levy is a total fund and the various element can not be extrapolated. Much in the same way that Arts students are unlikely to use chemistry labs, and science student are unlikely to use media facilities. Is the levy the only funding that clubs and societies receive? No. The university also contributes funds and resources to all student service. These student services are an essential part of every college and funding is allocated from the annual student contribution paid by each student. Do students in other colleges pay a levy? Yes. All universities have a levy. Most are in place to fund the building costs of sports facilities and student centres. Apart from a USI levy in some universities (maximum of €7.00), all other levies fund the capital once-off costs of additional student facilities. NUI Galway is the only university that requires students to subsidise recurrent costs for student services.


NUI GALWAY STUDENT LEVY 2021 University College Dublin

€254.00

Used to fund capital costs of Student Centre and planned expansion of Student Centre. Students are entitled to use the gym at no extra cost. University College Cor

€130.00

The levy includes membership of USI and use of the Mardyke Sports Arena at no extra cost. NUI Maynooth

€150.00

Used exclusively for capital development. Trinity College Dublin

€193.75

Sports Centre Cost, USI membership and graduation charge. The levy entitles students to membership of the sports complex at no extra cost. Dublin City University

€46.00

Used for capital development (new student centre) and USI membership. University of Limerick

€90

Capital Development – New student centre and further upgrade of sports facilities.


NUI GALWAY STUDENT LEVY 2021

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