Brexit could cause inflation in university points

The number of Irish students applying to study in the UK has dropped by almost 20% since the Brexit vote, from 4,750 last year to 3,900 this year. This is  despite guarantees from UK education authorities that Irish and other EU students who commence third-level courses in the coming academic year will not face international fees of £20,000-£30,000 a year as opposed to £9000 at present.

That leaves about 12,000 Irish students currently attending UK universities. Should Irish universities have to absorb such  numbers, there could be a new ‘arms race’ in Central Admissions Office (CAO) points for popular courses.

“If there is no increase in capacity this will further increase competition for places in Irish universities, with potential increases in CAO points in specific programmes, and displacement of some student who may otherwise have obtained entry places,” Dublin City University (DCU)  president Brian MacCraith told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education.

Ned Costello of the Irish Universities Association doubted that universities could absorb numbers like these, equal to 6% of the student body, given the financial pressures on them. There was also a 17% increase in EU applications to study in Ireland, indicating that many European students were already considering Ireland as an alternative destination to the UK.