Current AffairsBudget 2015: What it Means for Students Motley goes through the significant changes outlined in Budget 2015 by Finance Minister Michael Noonan Whilst we’re glad that no new cuts to student supports will be introduced in this budget, we’re not exactly breathing sighs of relief. The escalator on student contribution fees adds €250 more on to fees which are the second highest student fees in Europe, placing enormous financial pressure on students and families.-Laura Harmon, USI President The education budget will be aided from an exchequer contribution of €8.3 billion, this includes an increase of 1,700 full-time teaching positions. Students working part-time earning up to €12,012 per annum will be exempt from paying the previously projected Universal Social Charge of 1.5% The Student Contribution Fee increased by the expected €250 euro bringing the total to €3,000, the second-highest contribution fees for third-level education institutions in Europe. There was no change in the Back to Education Allowance, remaining at the current average of €160. An additional 200 recruits will enter Garda College in the coming months. Student drivers are in luck. There were no tax increases for motor tax, VRT, diesel or petrol. It might be time to go cold-turkey. The cost of a packet of 20 cigarettes went up by 40 cent, while rolling-tobacco increased by 20 cent.