UK students set to benefit from CAO change

Students from Northern Ireland who hope to further their third level education in an Irish university are set to benefit from proposed changes to the admittance procedures in the CAO system.

Under the plan, which will apply to college applicants from September 2016, the Central Applications Office (CAO) points awarded for an A* grade in the A-Level exams will rise from 150 to 180.

The points for an A grade will go up from 135 to 150, while other A-Level grades will be adjusted by five-10 points.

It’s hoped that the new entry system is set to entice more Northern students to study in one of seven Irish universities as university fees across the UK are set to tip £9,000 this year while fees in Northern Ireland are expected to be just over £3,000 this year.

Under the new system, three A* grades will yield 540 points, and up to 60 further points could be added to this if the student takes a fourth A-Level. Five of the seven universities are suspected to have approved the plan while the remaining two are expected to ratify it at separate meetings this week.

It is not known whether DCU has approved the plan yet.

The move follows pilot projects introduced over the past 18 months by DCU, NUIG and Trinity College Dublin, where several hundred places were reserved for students from Northern Ireland who had taken just three A-Levels.

Currently, just under 1,400 students from Northern Ireland apply to the CAO every year and it is expected that the new admittance procedures will boost that number by 27 per cent.

Finnian Curran

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