The cost of college for 96,000 students has been dropped by 33% thanks to a decrease of €1,000 in undergraduate fees that has been applied to all student accounts.
Refunds are being given to students or their families who have paid the whole €3,000 student payment.
To enable their higher education school to refund them for their €1,000 in December, they have been requested to provide their bank account information by the end of November.
A credit will be issued to the student's account if they fail to submit bank account information.
According to Minister Harris, most pupils won't need to take any action.
The automatic reduction of costs to €2,000 will apply to all undergraduate students who qualify for free fees.
The second installment you make at the beginning of the second term in 2024 will be lowered by up to €1,000 if you are paying in installments, as many families do. By year's end, your college would reimburse you if you paid in full," he added.
Furthermore, Minister Harris announced that families making less than €100,000 are qualified for an additional €500 discount; however, they must apply online at www.susi.ie.
The minister also unveiled plans to allocate €17 million for the Student Assistance Fund, a programme designed to help students pay for college.
Among other things, the funds can help students with books and course materials, rent, childcare, and transportation.
Details on the €3,000 stipend rise that PhD researchers at Science Foundation Ireland and Irish Research Council will also receive will be released next month.
Minister Harris stated that while he would want to see the price decrease made permanent, it is only applicable for the current academic year in an interview with Claire Byrne on RTÉ's Today.
To address the expense of living, he declared he would not look a gift horse in the mouth when the suggestion was made.
Still, he said that bringing down the cost of education is the ultimate objective.
In addition, the minister stated that kids who are exiting the foster system would be given priority when it comes to housing on campus.
He said that these kids attended college “against all the odds” and that they will be provided free college housing in addition to being recognised as a priority group in the national access strategy.
Harris had not anticipated such a large number of participants and that the initiative is an attempt to remove obstacles for people wishing to pursue higher education after leaving foster care.