Student issues raised north and south of the border

Up to 20 thousand students are expected to take to the streets this week in protest at an increase in the third level registration fee.

There's speculation the charge which currently stands at 1500 euro may be doubled in the budget.

The USI says it would lead to huge drop out rates and the death of the smart economy.

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland...

Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey will present a petition with nearly 10,000 signatures to the Assembly Speaker today protesting at the proposal by leading universities to force graduates to repay their student loans earlier and at a higher rate of interest.

The SDLP's Employment and Learning spokesman will then move a motion opposing plans to remove the cap on student fees and to increase the cost of student loan.

Mr Ramsey says asking students to start repaying their student loans earlier and at a higher interest rate is short sighted