Comment & Analysis
Mar 27, 2022

This Week’s Fee Freeze is a Major Boon for the Student Voice on College Board

This week Provost Linda Doyle opted for a fee freeze for the next academic year, instead of increasing fees for non-EU students.

By The Editorial Board

College Board’s decision this week to bin fee increases for students – for now – is a shining example of why reducing the sway of students on Trinity’s highest governing authority is a bad idea.

It is a cliche at this point to say that students are not cash cows. Fee increases for non-EU students without any real improvement in education are patently unfair. College used spiralling inflation to justify the proposed hikes, seemingly forgetting that individuals are feeling the effects of inflation just as much as institutions – if not more.

Impending reforms are set to reduce the proportionality of students on the Board – a decision considered a reasonable compromise with a government dead set on impinging on the autonomy of Trinity.


While reforms are unavoidable at this stage, this reduction of student sway will hurt the interests of undergraduates and postgraduates. Several Board members did side with students and dissent to the increases – but they had to be lobbied by the student Board members before taking this stance.

It is conceivable that without a hefty number of representatives fighting for the specific interests of students, many undergraduate and postgraduate students would be saddled with even higher fees than before.

That being said, Provost Linda Doyle deserves credit for binning the fee increases. Board has notoriously been allergic to the idea of meaningful “consensus”, but Doyle appears to be taking it seriously. Following a 10-9 vote in favour of the increases, she would have been perfectly entitled to approve them – but decided not to.

This gentler ruling of Board is good for students, but also for the College as a whole, and helps the College community feel like it is listened to in a meaningful way – a core promise of Doyle’s during her run for the top job.

When the issue of fee increases is brought back to Board, let’s hope that Doyle keeps that commitment in mind, and that students aren’t – once again – left shortchanged.