Another year of delayed Leaving Cert results will put "intolerable strain" on students, increase retention problems, and make it harder to find accommodation, according to student and college associations.
The warning follows meetings between the higher education sector and Department of Education officials who have indicated that 2023 results may not be released until September.
This will be the fourth year in a row in which the Leaving Cert results will be delayed.
College authorities believe increased retention problems can be directly traced back to the late entry into higher education for Leaving Cert students, the “squeezing” of the first-year experience, and the inability to ease the transition through appropriate induction activities.
The Union of Students in Ireland (USI), the Irish Universities Association (IUA), and the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA) are now calling on Minister for Education Norma Foley to bring forward the date of this year's Leaving Cert results in line with pre-covid times.
The group also wants to see an acceleration of the Leaving Certificate examination reform process, and for Ireland to be brought into line with general EU standards where results are issued no later than the end of July each year.
In a joint statement, the USI, IUA, and THEA said they are “acutely conscious” of the pressures faced by first-year students seeking to find accommodation at very short notice in an already tight market.
The Leaving Cert marking process is “clearly cumbersome and overly bureaucratic” and reflects a system that could be better connected, it added.
The organisations are calling on the minister to intervene immediately and ensure that the 2023 results are issued in line with the pre-covid exams timeline.
USI President Beth O'Reilly said the lack of clarity around the Leaving Cert results date has a “hugely negative impact” on the mental health and well-being of students. “This is unconscionable and must be changed.”
Deputy President at UL and chair of the IUA registrars' group Shane Kilcommins said: “The current situation with Leaving Certificate results and college entry running three weeks late is untenable.
“It’s placing an intolerable strain on first-year students and their families and makes it even harder for them to find accommodation in an already stressed housing market.”
Chair for the THEA Council of Registrars, Dr Sheila Flanagan said: “The current situation places an enormous burden on incoming first year students who face a delayed academic start to the semester at a time when most available accommodation has already been taken up by international and returning students.”