Wednesday, 27 January 2021
Department of Education and Skills
Third Level Admissions
Universities and Institutes of Technology are autonomous and determine their own procedures for admission. The CAO process applications for undergraduate, and some postgraduate, courses on their behalf.
Decisions on admissions are made by the higher education institutions who then instruct the CAO to make offers to successful candidates. Therefore neither I nor my Department have a function in relation to such matters and information on application figures is held by the CAO, not by my Department.
According to figures published by the CAO, 61,309 applicants received at least one offer as part of the 2020 application cycle, meaning 81% of the 78,168 applicants received an offer. This is an increase on 2019 when 61,309 (78%) of 77,706 applicants received an offer.
589. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if the additional 2,000 undergraduate places secured in the budget for the academic year 2021-2022 are separate from and in addition to the maintenance of all places added in for the academic year 2020-2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3920/21]
590. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide additional detail on the circa 5,000 additional places for higher education referenced in the Budget 2021 expenditure report; if this figure includes postgraduate and international students; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3921/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 589 and 590 together.
I am conscious of the impact that Covid-19 is having on the leaving certificate class of 2021, and will take action as necessary to ensure that a full range of further and higher education options are available to them.
In 2020 more students than ever before were offered a place in higher education with more than 49,000 accepting an offer of a place. There is no indication that a higher number of students than usual opted to defer their place to the 2021 academic year, and given the large numbers of students who have been accommodated in higher education this year it is feasible that the numbers of students reapplying to the CAO next year on the basis of Leaving Certificate results from prior years will be lower in 2021 than previously.
Funding was provided in Budget 2021 to both sustain additional undergraduate places and address demographic growth pressures. €20 million was provided to fund the approx. 2,300 additional places created in 2020, while €18 million was provided to create over 2,000 places to address demographic pressures. These places are in addition to the 1,330 additional places commencing in 2021, funded through the Human Capital Initiative Pillar 2, which will be on undergraduate courses in areas of identified skills needs.
I know how difficult a time it has been for students and parents, and my Department will be closely examining a number of indicators of demand for higher education, in order to assess if there will be a need to create further places.