Almost 45,000 college places have been snapped up by students through the CAO after the latest round of offers closed for acceptances last night.
The majority of places offered eight days ago have been taken up by the 50,000 applicants who received them. The CAO said it registered 37,171 acceptances, most of them online, by the teatime deadline.
The figure is almost 500 more than this time last year, but the 43 colleges which use the CAO’s services have also offered around 500 more places than in 2011.
With about 18,500 of this year’s 76,000 applicants not having received an offer yet, hopes will be high for better news when colleges make more places available through the CAO on Thursday.
The CAO had filled almost 7,000 places ahead of last week in its Round A and Round 0 offer stages.
Most of those places were taken up by mature students, overseas applicants and some others who applied for courses with reserved places.
Last year, just under 2,000 applicants received an offer for the first time after this stage of the CAO process.
The second-round offers will be made by CAO online from 6am on Thursday, with written notifications also due to arrive by post the same day.
As tens of thousands of students prepare for their first days of college, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has reiterated its concerns over a Government-supported loan scheme for postgraduates.
The Department of Education is no longer paying maintenance grants for new postgraduate students, but gave its backing to the Bank of Ireland scheme announced earlier this month.
USI deputy president Kate Acheson said the 10.8% interest rate was punitive, when comparable loan schemes in the UK which are offered by the state with 0% interest.
Launching a campaign advising students to check their options with their local students’ union, she criticised the fact that applications were considered only on the student’s credit history and said students would struggle even with the interest-only repayments required during study.
BoI said it had no comment on the USI statement but a spokesperson said it was responding to the needs of its customers.
* The Round 2 cut-off points for all CAO courses will appear in the Irish Examiner on Thursday.
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