Mr Farry was speaking after a paper in the wake of his ‘Big Conversation’ consultation outlined various funding models for higher education in Northern Ireland. He said the issue needed to be a priority for the Executive in the new Assembly term.
“Alliance believes the hybrid funding model currently in place is viable, however, it requires other Executive parties to step up and understand the funding commitment needed to sustain it.
“Following an extensive consultation, this paper has laid out a number of options the Executive could consider in order to fund higher education in the future. At no point have I stated I want to introduce a rise in tuition fees.
“There are various scenarios contained within it, including public and individual funding models, along with zero fees. The only absolute contained with the paper is that we have a collective duty to ensure we have a properly resourced higher education system. If we want to transform our economy and ensure our society is a successful one, we need to properly resource higher education.
“It is irresponsible and downright disingenuous of other Executive parties to suggest I wish to raise fees. The development of a skilled workforce is too integral to the growth of our economy to be used for political games.”