Thursday, 18 February 2021
Department of Education and Skills
Further and Higher Education
I am conscious of the impact that Covid-19 has had 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.
I am aware of the high number of CAO applications this year, and my officials are engaging regularly with representatives from the higher education sector in relation to the 2021/22 academic year and demand for places. Information will become available next month on the types of applicants in the current year, and the courses they are choosing which will assist us in planning for the current year.
Funding was provided in Budget 2021 to both sustain additional undergraduate places and address demographic growth 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 continue to closely assess demand for higher education places and take action as necessary to ensure that this year's Leaving Certificate students have a range of pathways into further and higher education.
218. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the contact details for the sections that deal with all ongoing and established grant funding in his Department and in each agency under the remit of his Department in tabular form. [9130/21]
219. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if students who received results from the November 2020 leaving certificate will have the opportunity to qualify for courses in autumn 2021 which have a health professions admission test, HPAT, entry requirement or a CAO process; and if a necessary change in closing dates can be made to accommodate same. [9145/21]
The CAO process applications for undergraduate, and some postgraduate, courses on behalf of the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Decisions on admissions, including deadlines for submissions of applications, are made by the HEIs who then instruct the CAO in this matter.
The HPAT is independently administered by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) on behalf of the universities’ medical schools and RCSI. The selection criteria and process for admission to medical schools is a matter for those institutions in line with their statutory autonomy in relation to academic affairs. Neither I nor my Department have a role in the administration or running of the CAO or HPAT, and I do not determine the application deadlines in relation to either of them.
Students whose November Leaving Certificate results entitled them to a higher preference offer based on their 2020 CAO application will have received a deferred offer to start their course in the 2021/22 academic year. Such offers are part of the 2020 application cycle, and therefore will be based on the 2020 CAO points.
Students who wish to make a fresh application for the 2021 CAO cycle may do so if they have not already applied. Although the initial deadline for CAO applications has passed, the late application facility will be open from 5th March to 1st May, allowing students to apply for all non-restricted courses. It is my understanding that late applications for restricted courses will not be accepted, as these deadlines are in place to allow the necessary assessments such as interviews, portfolio assessments or the HPAT to take place.