Thursday, 21 January 2016
Department of Education and Skills
Third Level Admissions Entry Requirements
136. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills why Irish citizens who have emigrated with their family are classed as overseas students when they return to study at third level; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2552/16]
As the Deputy will be aware, in order to qualify for tuition fee funding, students must be first-time undergraduates, hold inter alia EU/EEA/Swiss nationality in their own right, and have been ordinarily resident in an EU/EEA/Swiss state for at least three of the five years preceding their entry to an approved third level course.
Where students do not qualify for free fees funding they must pay the appropriate fee - either EU or Non-EU, as determined by each higher education institution. These institutions are autonomous bodies and the level of fee payable by students who do not meet the requirements of the free fees scheme is a matter for the relevant institution.
However, due to concerns that in some cases the higher non-EU fee was being charged to students who held EU/EEA/Swiss nationality but did not meet the residency clause for free fees, the Department requested higher education institutions to charge the more moderate EU fee to such students. Students must have completed at least five academic years of study (primary or post-primary level) in Ireland/EU/EEA/Switzerland and commence their first undergraduate course of study in an approved institution in the State in order to qualify for the EU rate of fee. This position took effect from the academic year 2014/15.