Universities say they are under severe financial pressure, with business revenue losses rising to €270 million due to the pandemic.
The industry says the loss in these revenue streams, such as tourism, conferences, accommodation and sports facilities, is even greater in 2021 than in 2020.
A combination of rising student numbers and the additional costs linked to Covid-19 will push more universities further into the red. Irish Universities Association (IUA).
Estimates by eight universities – DCU, University of Maynooth, NUI Galway, Trinity, UCC, UCD, University of Limerick and TU Dublin – show a total estimated gap of €40 million in the current academic year.
They say these deficits are clear from the significant cost containment and reduction measures implemented at all universities.
He says such measures to address short-term financial pressures are often not in the long-term strategic interests of universities and pose real risks to the long-term impact on quality and sustainability.
“Universities will continue to find cost efficiencies when needed, but even if desired in the context of recovery, savings capacity is limited as salaries are largely government-determined and demands for services continue to rise due to demographic growth.”
The IUA has called on the Government to significantly increase investment in higher education and research as part of the post-Covid and post-Brexit national recovery.
The association has outlined a number of proposed measures in a €900 million package that includes extra core funding and a capital expenditure program for the sector.
The Department of Further and Higher Education said it has significantly increased funding to the broader education sector.
It includes a new €225 million investment for further and higher education in skills development and research, as well as a €105 valuation fund for the safe reopening of the third level.
However, Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, IUA president and NUI Galway president, said the time has come to expand core funding, given that an EU-sponsored study has been received by the Government on future funding of higher education.
“A Taoiseach and Minister Simon Harris “They gave strong support to increased investment in education and research as a cornerstone of Ireland’s continued development as a society and sustainable competitiveness as an economy.”
“For this generation of students, it is imperative that this generation of political leadership now act on the recommendations of this study consistent with the commitments in the Government Program and invest in a step change in the industry decades later in the 2022 Budget. -financing.”
Areas for which IUA is seeking additional funding include measures to increase the digital capacity of colleges, a “green campus” initiative to help combat climate change, and engagement measures to increase the participation of disadvantaged students.
He also says funding is needed for skills development, research and innovation, as well as incentives. Ireland as a preferred destination for international students.
IUA general manager Jim Miley He said the higher education sector has a crucial role to play in the national recovery as producers of the talent and innovation pipeline for the economy.
“During Covid we saw the proven value of advanced knowledge, research and science,” he said.
“The industry is now ready to play its part in the recovery. Investing in both the talent and innovation needs of the country is essential to a successful national recovery now and in the future.”