This might sound reasonable at first glance but when it comes to PhD students in Arts at least this must largely be profit for the University. UCD provides only a supervisor and access to a library (not even inter-library loans) which is often poorly stocked. Many students work from home, not even costing the college for heating or electricity.
This is slightly different in the Sciences where the first few years would often involve laboratory facilities but even in the practical disciplines people in the latter years of their research are writing up and using minimal college resources, presumably the rationale for the previous payment structure.
What the changes represent are essentially a tax on PhD students, the supposed vanguard of the "knowledge economy". Most students in the arts would have funding, but only for three years (despite UCD now regarding PhDs as four year courses as per the American model).
Students, like me, who are attempting to finish up within those three years and run over by even a month, now face paying over thousands of euros with no income and only the prospect of signing on when they finally succeed in submitting.
Why the hell would anyone do a PhD in UCD?
Please please please sign this petition online if you think anything I just said made some semblance of sense.