High calibre candidates seek education elsewhere

According to a report issued this summer by the Higher Education Authority, every year Irish students travel to the United Kingdom to take up places on courses in higher education institutions. Students apply through the Universities and Colleges Application System (UCAS), a similar system to the CAO.

Some high-points courses in Irish universities, including dentistry, have been considered more obtainable in the UK. Dentistry and medicine can be accessed with slightly lower Leaving Certificate grades than are required by Irish universities. These are courses where places mostly fill in the 550-600 points bracket.

Despite the 2004 UK Higher Education Bill introducing legislation permitting UK universities to charge tuition fees of up to £3,000 per student, which came into effect in September, the numbers accepting places in the category of medicine and dentistry increased from 74 in 2005 to 95 in 2006, an increase in proportion of 1.3 percentage points.

Different universities and colleges in the UK charge varying amounts, with the level of fees depending on the course subject. The increased fees present a dramatic cost to Irish students considering a university course in the UK.

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