Trinity College Dublin has been found to be in breach of advertising guidelines regarding a course listing on the university’s website.
The Masters degree in Cognitive Psychotherapy in Trinity was advertised to be over €250 less expensive than actually priced.
On the website, fees for the course in Year 1 are stated as €9,779 (€20,507 for non EU students) and in Year 2 fees are €8,471.
A complaint was made with regards to the advertising of fees on the website as the complainant was charged €263 more than stated.
The complainant observed that on the invoice, additional charges including €120 Sports Centre charge, a Students’ Union charge of €8 and a graduation fee of €135 had been affixed such that the fees due totalled €10,042.
Trinity claimed in that details on their website showed tuition fees only and the additional charges were contained in the course handbook available on the same webpage.
In correspondence with the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI), the university regarded the information as factually correct and said that there was “no intention to exploit” prospective students.
While the figure of €9,779 is the cost of tuition for the Masters programme, the ASAI stated that the college had breached four sections of Irish advertising regulations (4.1, 4.4, 4.22, and 4.23).
The Committee acknowledged that the advertiser had referred to the charges for the course in their response as ‘tuition’, however the advertisement had referred to the total as ‘fees’ which could be interpreted as including all fees related to the course.
The ASAI detailed to the university that if a price is included in an advertisement, it must encompass all mandatory payments.
By Lydia McKay
Image: Ciara Tamay