I urge NUIG to reverse their decision to charge students €295 for each repeat exam. Any fees charged must reflect the costs involved and the changed circumstances of students.
I have been contacted by students and parents across Mayo and in the Western Region who are angry and upset that they are being asked to pay excessive amounts to repeat exams.
It is unacceptable for NUIG to be charging students €295 euro when it costs the University only a tiny fraction of that to host the exam. It shows a complete lack of compassion for the difficult financial situation many students and their families find themselves in due to Covid-19.
Repeat exams are being done remotely which means a number of the associated costs no longer apply to the holding of repeat exams. I understand the average repeat exam cost to NUIG is around €10 euro per student.
It is unjustifiable to expect students to pay almost 300 euro to take an exam on their kitchen table. Many universities have already waived the fee for this year and I believe it is only fair that NUIG do the same and gives student and their families a break.
Many students have been unable to work part-time or summer jobs as a result of covid-19. Families have seen their household incomes decline as many parents were forced through no fault of their own to stop working.
The exams students failed were held after months of lockdown and the difficulty of shifting to online learning. There is a lot of anger about the decision by NUIG to charge so much, and it is easy to understand why.
Sinn Fein have questioned the government on the issue of repeat fees and called for support for students and institutions to address the matter. The government is hiding behind the universities saying each institution is in charge of setting the price.
The government must take a responsibility for the current situation. For the past decade universities have been underfunded and as a result forced to find alternative sources of income. This has often resulted in students being asked to pay more and more for their education on top of highest fees in the EU.
In the absence of government leadership NUIG need to step up and do the right thing.