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News / September 23, 2008

Greater numbers of Irish students look to study abroad

by Guy Hiscott

As reported in the Irish Independent, greater numbers of Irish students are opting to go to university in the UK.

In subjects such as dentistry, some UK educational establishments have lower points requirements than in Ireland. Plus, with the falling value of Sterling against the Euro, third-level education in the UK may well have even more appeal.

Recently, staff from Bangor University in Wales hosted a special event in Buswells Hotel in Dublin in a bid to attract Irish applicants for a number of its courses. In an almost unprecedented blitz of advertising, Bangor University has boasted that the city is only two hours from Dublin by fast ferry, and that it is the fourth cheapest university city in Britain.

The most recent figures from the British Higher Education Statistics Agency indicate that there are now about 16,000 Irish undergraduates and postgraduates enrolled in the UK, with 2,500 undergraduates starting courses every year.

Scotland and Wales may prove to be particularly attractive destinations for Irish students in the future. In Scotland, the government pays the tuition fees of students from the EU, while in Wales the government subsidises most fees.

For example, although students at Bangor are charged fees of £3,145 (€3,877), Irish students can have £1,890 (€2,323) of this paid for by the Welsh Assembly.

Recent figures from the Higher Education Authority show that as many as one in 10 students is leaving to pursue a college career in the UK. They show large numbers are enrolling in high-point and professional courses, such as dentistry, in the UK because they cannot get places in Ireland.