Skip to content
News / March 19, 2009

Dental graduates face massive debts under proposed tax

by Guy Hiscott

As reported by the Irish Independent, dental students would face massive debts of around €64,000 when they graduate from university under a plan by Fine Gael for a ‘graduate tax’.

The figures suggest that such a plan would result in graduate dentists repaying €1,333 a month for four years or €1,067 for five years. In comparison, arts graduates would pay considerably less – €238 a month over four years or €190 over five years.

Fine Gael’s Green Paper Third Way proposes a new graduate PRSI contribution scheme rather than an increase in fees, whereby students would pay 30% of the cost of their education.

Speaking at the launch of the Green Paper, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny TD said: ‘If we want to regain Ireland’s position as a location for high-tech, cutting edge new industry we have to make sure that our education system is up to the task of supplying the necessary graduates to make that ambition realistic. Currently there is a funding problem in our third level sector that is undermining the achievement of that ambition. Fine Gael recognises the need to bridge that funding gap and has set out a fair and progressive means of doing that.’

While the party insisted that the average debt would be €12,000, education spokesperson and author of the report, Brian Hayes, did agree that graduates from laboratory courses such as dentistry and medicine would face much higher payments. However, the party might consider capping the amount that would have to be repaid, as well as a discount scheme for students on courses that are designed to meet labour shortages or national goals.

He argued these were well-paid professions but said the party might consider a ‘cap’ on the amount to be repaid. Fine Gael would also consider a discount scheme for courses that are designed to meet labour shortages or meet national goals.

The graduate PRSI contribution scheme would raise in the region of €500m per year for the third level sector.