More college students are choosing Ireland as a study destination because of Brexit.
Evidence of the trend can be found at Trinity College Dublin, according to Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast.
“We have seen some evidence of increased numbers of non-EU students applying to Trinity courses and I think other Irish universities are seeing something of an uplift,” he said.
“So where students might have thought of the UK only, they’re now hedging their bets a bit and applying not just to the UK, but to other English-speaking universities like Trinity College. So, yeah, we have seen some evidence,” he added.
He was speaking in Trinity yesterday where the Government launched its National Student Accommodation Strategy.
The strategy aims to increase the number of student accommodation places in Ireland by 21,000 by 2024 through a series of eight key targets and 27 actions.
At the moment, there are 179,000 people in the third-level education system and 33,441 purpose-built accommodation units for students.
Key actions in the new strategy include the creation of a housing land map to identify land for development as well as working on potential financing for purpose-built student accommodation.
Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, also said she has brought up the issue of the borrowing ban that is placed on Institutes of Technology (IoTs) with Cabinet.
As it stands, IoTs cannot borrow capital to fund campus accommodation, even though many of them have the land to build on within their campuses.
“I have made a case at Cabinet, to our Taoiseach, to see can the IoTs borrow in the future obviously under EU guidelines,” she said.
Commenting particularly on the pressure that students may find themselves in September, with rising rents and a growing student body as well as a static accommodation supply, Ms Mitchell O’Connor advised people to contact the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
“I’d just like a message to be sent out to students, especially if they are finding accommodation difficult — we are funding and helping to fund USI with the website and I’d ask them to contact the USI if they are under extreme pressure for accommodation,” she said.
While the strategy was welcomed by the USI, Young Fine Gael (YFG) said it will “do little to relieve the pressure”.
“While is it good to see that the Government is finally taking action to combat the student accommodation crisis, the measures announced today will do little to relieve the pressure on students looking for accommodation for the coming academic year.
“The cost of rent is already high and rising due to a lack of supply. The students of today won’t be in a position to benefit from the planned extra units in 2024.
“We have stressed this point directly to the ministers involved and will continue to do so,” said the president of YFG, Marian O’Donnell.
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