Being A Student in Ireland: 2016 vs 2017
– What Has Changed?

Ireland has one of the most developed higher education systems in the world and is comparable with England and the United States. However, the country is experiencing some issues in relation to educational provision.

Student life is still one of the best in the developed world yet, since the 2008 economic crisis, the Irish economy has faced its fair share of issues. In recent years, however, it has shown remarkable progress to improve the economy and living standards for citizens. As a student in Ireland, the majority of your budget will be spent on food and accommodation. Unless you are living with family during your studies, it is better to try and seek out university accommodation. This is because it provides you with easy access to the campus and you will also be issued with a meal pass or catered option while you study.

Typically for a student studying in Ireland, you should expect to pay between 700 to 750 Euros a month for a one bedroom apartment in the city. Outside of the city typical rental would be between 575 and 625 Euros a month.

Students can expect to be taught in English, but there are multiple internationally recognised courses. Outside of university, there is a lot to offer to relax and unwind on a weekend or during university holidays.

#1 Admissions
In the coming years, legislation is to be enacted in relation to new school admissions. This legislation creates an obligation that schools cannot assign more than a quarter of school places for children of past students. This is set to prove incredibly controversial because it breaks the tradition of many old schools, particularly those in the private sector.

#2 Employers Funding
After many years of cuts and funding restrictions, combined with an increasing number of university students, some have said that the Irish higher education system is facing a crisis. In the next decade, it is expected that this demand will increase by almost a quarter, placing even more pressure on universities. It has been proposed that an income contingent loan will form one of the solutions. This has proved unpopular with some particular employers who have been asked to pay even more. This is because it is considered that employers gain substantially from higher education but their contribution is very little.

#3 Rankings
Top Irish universities fell from world university rankings in 2016. This downward trend is set to continue in the coming years. The current higher education list showed no Irish universities in the top 200 for the first time since records began. There is a little hope, however, as Trinity University may re-enter the listings after there was an omission resulting in it falling from the rankings. Although students and university lecturers may not give these rankings much thought, they are crucial for securing research funding, overseas investment and international students.

#4 STEM Tuition
In Ireland, there is much discussion about both the number and calibre of graduates within areas such as science, mathematics, technology and engineering. In these subject areas, student grades are average at best. As a result, a new strategy is proposed in 2017 to enhance the quality of tuition and increase the level of careers information to encourage more young people to enter and excel in these areas.

#5 Points System
A new points system has been proposed which aims to reduce some of the pressure on students. The existing A-C grading system is being replaced with H1 through to H8 for higher level grades and ordinary grades between O1 and O8. Under the new system, even if a student who achieves between 30 and 39 points, equivalent to a Grade E or lower will still receive points.

#6 Brexit
In theory, Brexit presents an excellent opportunity for Irish universities. This is because it is soon to become the largest English speaking member of the European Union which could result in a huge influx of students seeking out Irish universities to obtain there higher qualifications. Alongside this, Brexit could result in a tremendous increase in EU research funding. However, in reality, the current higher education infrastructure cannot cope with these new opportunities.

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