University College Dublin may have to favour accepting foreign students over Irish ones without further funding, according to the college's president.
Professor Andrew Deeks spoke to the Irish Independent about the needs for higher education funds to be increased, and the consequences for Irish university places if they don't improve sooner rather than later. That includes allocating more places for students who come from abroad, as they have to pay far more in fees than Irish students.
A non-EU student wishing to do an undergraduate degree in Ireland will pay somewhere in the region of €18,000-24,000, whereas the majority of Irish students only pay the contribution fee.
"Unless there is movement on the funding of Irish students soon, the university will have to consider the option of reducing the number of places available to Irish students in order to preserve quality," Prof Deeks said.
Third-level education in Ireland has gone through a funding crisis ever since the recession in 2008, and it will only get worse if nothing is done about it, as the number of people sitting the Leaving Cert grows.
UCD are having to prioritise international students in order to make up for the shortfall "because of the failure of the Government to address the funding issue facing the sector," according to Prof Deeks.
There is no threat to intake this year, but changes are likely to occur unless funding is improved.