Record 80,400 applicants to receive third-level college offers

Third-level colleges have begun filling courses for the autumn as the first of the record 80,400 applicants receive offers this morning.

The Central Applications Office has offered 6,398 people places on college courses this morning.

While Leaving Certificate students and most others must await their results on August 17, before the main CAO activity, these ‘Round A’ offers are made each year to applicants from a small number of categories.

They include those who may need to make visa or other arrangements before taking up a college place in Ireland. Course places are also being offered to some people who had deferred a college place they had been offered last year, or some mature applicants.

The CAO has also begun filling nursing and midwifery courses on which places are reserved for mature applicants, aged 23 or over.

Nearly 4,800 of those getting an offer this morning now have a week to accept a place on an honours degree (level 8), while over 2,821 offers are to take part in ordinary degree or higher certificate (level 7 or 6) courses. For 1,215 people, there is a choice to be made from either a level 8 or level 7/6 programme to which they successfully applied.

The offers, available from 6am, have to be accepted by next Wednesday, July 13, at 5.15pm.

This time last year, 8,243 offers were issued to 6,900 people at the same stage, and just under 5,200 of them had taken up an offer by the deadline.

On Thursday, August 4, CAO will make further offers to additional mature applicants, deferred and access applicants, as well as those seeking entry to medical degrees as postgraduates, or who have applied based on further education to courses with places reserved for holders of such qualifications.

In 2015, that early August round added around 1,800 people offered third-level places, and resulted in over 7,000 of the 47,000 places eventually filled by the CAO being taken up before school leavers’ applications were considered.

Before those stages commence, students or aspiring students who may require grant support have been reminded to apply by this Friday.

Anybody who does so after that could face delays in decisions and payments later in the year.

Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) has already received 80,000 of the 110,000 applications it expects to assess for the forthcoming academic year.

While it will continue to accept applications after Friday, those received before the deadline will get priority as the grant-processing work continues over the coming months.

Around 10,000 applications have come in over the past week, with students and their families being reminded they can submit their details before knowing whether they have a course, or which college they will be attending.

On this basis, SUSI has already approved 39,000 students for grants in 2016/17, most of them applicants who have sought to renew payments for which they were already qualified last year.

However, under new procedures in place this year, the grants body can provisionally allocate a grant to applicants based on the course they have identified on their application.

The details can be amended later if a student ends up registering on a different course.

Using this revised system, 10,000 students who were not in receipt of SUSI support over the past year have been approved. Around 2,000 of those approvals have been made in the last week alone.

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