The Irish Universities Association (IUA) represents the seven Irish Universities- Dublin City University, Maynooth University, NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin and University of Limerick. Yesterday, the IUA released An Impact Assessment of Irish Universities which outlines the key findings of a socio-economic impact assessment of the University sector in Ireland.
The major findings of the report highlighted that Irish Universities contribute €8.89 billion to the Irish economy annually. The report also highlighted that there is a significant increase in the number of students enrolling in University education, highlighting a higher demand for highly skilled employees in the Irish economy. The Celtic tiger is back.
However, it wasn't all good news. The IUA suggest that they may be forced to cap the places for Irish students due to funding shortages in the University sector. The fees are much higher for international students who choose to study here, with students paying between €9,250-€54,000, depending on the area of study. These higher fees have bridged the gap in the shortage of funding.
Brian MacCraith, Chair of the Irish Universities Association and President of DCU said:
“The 50% increase in student enrolments since 2000 is a precursor to an even greater demographic bubble which will place an intolerable strain on the already under-resourced university system. Unless the Government and the broader political community are prepared to deliver a sustainable core funding solution, the opportunities afforded to today’s students may be curtailed for many current and future primary and secondary students. As a society, we cannot let this happen.”
The report found that Irish Universities account for 73% of all intentional students studying in Ireland compared with other educational institutes. Furthermore, the findings estimated that the total export income generated for the Irish economy from international students is €386 million.
The IUA has appealed to the Irish Government to take action on funding shortages for Universities stating that this latest report makes a "compelling case for the Government and the Oireachtas to prioritise the reform of the funding model for higher education”.