Dublin tumbles in student league

Dublin has been judged 15th best student city by a top university ranking agency — down from eighth in the same table last year.

As the influence of Asian higher education continues to grow, Singapore and Hong Kong are among the cities to leapfrog the capital, but so too are Montreal and Munich.

Rising college fees and the cost of living may be a big factor, with Dublin scoring a poor 42 out of 100 for affordability. The other factors measured saw higher scores for issues like overall and international student numbers (92 out of 100), quality of living (80), and employer activity (75) which measured employer views of which cities have colleges that produce excellent graduates.

Only cities with at least two colleges in the QS World University Rankings and with populations over 250,000 were compared, pitting Dublin against 97 student destinations in the QS Best Student Cities table. The ranking a year ago was topped by Paris and London, which again come in first and second, respectively, but Boston falls from third to eighth, and Vienna from fifth to shared 15th with Ireland. “With the cost of higher education rising around the world, [Dublin]’s affordability score of 42 could be an issue for students facing financial constraints,” said QS head of research Ben Sowter.

Trinity College Dublin is the only Irish institution in the QS World University Rankings top 100, and rose six places to 61st in the latest version two months ago. However, all other Irish colleges with a QS ranking fell this year, with the exception of a small improvement by NUI Galway to 284th.

In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings last month, TCD fell from 110th to 129th but UCD and UCC improved their placements.

Although ranking systems are regularly questioned over their methodology and the significance given to reputation or other score factors, performances are used as important marketing tools by universities here and abroad.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has initiated a review of a strategy to increase international student numbers, with concerns raised by the Higher Education Authority over full-time overseas students falling 12% to fewer than 10,600 between 2009 and 2012. Full-time Chinese students in Ireland rose from 871 to 1,412 in five years but there was a slight fall in US student numbers to 2,255.

The HEA said yesterday that up to 50,000 students at Irish colleges could benefit from the New EU Erasmus+ exchange programme, with 30,000 having studied in 33 other countries under the scheme since 2007.

Top 10 student cities

1 — Paris (1 last year)
2 — London (2)
3 — Singapore (12)
4 — Sydney (6)
5 — Melbourne (4)
5 — Zurich (7)
7 — Hong Kong (19)
8 — Boston (3)
9 — Montreal (10)
10 — Munich (13)


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