Written answers

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Department of Education and Skills

Third Level Costs

Photo of Kathleen FunchionKathleen Funchion (Carlow-Kilkenny, Sinn Fein)
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164. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of providing 100 higher education places for students of returning emigrants or those that came through the direct provision service. [27515/18]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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The estimated average cost of providing higher education provision is between €10k and €12k per student per annum therefore total cost for 100 places is between €1m and €1.2m.

However, I wish to advise the Deputy that in order to qualify for funding towards tuition fees, 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 undergraduate students do not qualify for free fees they are required to pay fees to their higher education institution at either an ‘EU rate’ or a higher ‘Non-EU rate’.

My Department responded previously to concerns about the impact of the free fees eligibility criteria on individuals who have had, for occupational or economic reasons, to move abroad, requiring them to take their children out of the Irish education system in the process.

To this end, in March 2014 my Department requested that the Higher Education Authority (HEA) advise the higher education sector that full-time undergraduate students who:

- Hold EU/EEA/Swiss nationality but do not meet the residency clause of the Free Fees Initiative; and

- have completed five academic years of study (at either primary or post-primary level) in an EU/EEA/Swiss State; and

- commence their first undergraduate course of study in an approved institution here from the following academic year onwards,

should be charged the EU rate of fee rather than the higher non-EU rate by their higher education institution. 

This approach was implemented for new students from the commencement of the 2014/15 academic year.


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