Several universities in Ireland have announced they have no plans to reduce fees despite the fact some may be fully or partially moved online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the pandemic, many universities have claimed they will have to increase their expenditure. The extra investment will be for both training and technology in order to abide by the new COVID-19 guidelines while they provide their courses.
Dr Jürgen Barkhoff, Chief Academic Officer of Trinity College Dublin, says universities having to innovate in response to Covid-19 has been quite costly.
"We are investing at the moment in technology, in upskilling our lecturers and colleagues into delivering the best online teaching possible. So this mixed approach that we are preparing for is actually more expensive."
It is also expected that the number of international students attending these universities will be significantly lower. International students generally pay much larger college fees than EU citizens. Some say the sector could face a loss of up to €500m because of Covid-19.
Despite this, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) President Lorna Fitzpatrick says there should be a reduction in fees because of the changes in the upcoming academic year.
"At the moment for undergraduate fees we have the highest fees in the EU at €3,000 and for postgraduate fees you're looking at anything from €4,000 with many paying €7-9,000."
"I don't think students should be forced to pay the same amount for what is going to be a very different experience. The simple answer is we should be reducing the cost to students to accessing education." Said Ms. Fitzpatrick