In a statement released on March 23rd, UCD Students’ Union announced a fees freeze for Graduate Entry Medicine (GEM) Students for the next two years.
The campaign which was first brought to the attention of the UCDSU in July 2020, and in November, Graduate Entry Medicine students voted by a majority of 70% to withhold the payment of academic fees to UCD “for the foreseeable future”. This was in protest to rising fees GEMs were expected to pay.
According to the statement by UCDSU, The School of Medicine has guaranteed that it will not increase fees for the academic year 2021-2022. Although budgets are not set for 2022-2023, the School has indicated that they are unlikely to raise fees that year either.
UCDSU President, Conor Anderson, said; “This is a solid win for GEM students, and it proves that when students get organised, they can accomplish the change they need.
“I have been working alongside these students since the start of my term, and I could not be happier that they have succeeded in achieving one of their objectives. While they still have unmet demands, among them a reduction in fees to fall in line with the available financing and clarity on why these increases have been implemented, this fee freeze will provide much-needed breathing room. The purpose of the GEM programme is to provide an alternative pathway into the medical profession for cohorts who might otherwise not have access, and onerous course fees go against that purpose.
“We are now seeing the topic of GEM fees being raised in the Dáil, and the possibility of expanding SUSI to include this cohort. All of that is due to the organising work of UCD students. Going forward, other student groups would be wise to look to this example as they undertake their own campaigns.”
As part of the statement released by UCDSU, Year-2 Graduate Entry Medicine Year student, Colin Smyth, said; “I am delighted to hear that the UCD school of medicine have made concessions around annual fee increases. A small yet significant battle has been won, but there is more to do: after the two years of frozen fees the 2-4% annual fee increase is still hanging over current GEM students, with zero transparency as to where the money is going”.