British and Northern Irish students studying in the Republic of Ireland no longer need to worry about an increase in tuition fees.
A proposed amendment to the Brexit Omnibus bill will ensure their eligibility for EU fees should a Brexit deal pass.
It was previously understood that EU fees would only apply for UK students starting undergraduate courses in 2019, and after that international fees would apply.
Tuition fee for eligible EU students in recognised courses in Irish universities is the same for Irish students who aren’t eligible for the SUSI grant, which is a €3,000 student contribution fee.
“I think the fact we can avail of EU fees is fantastic. There was a worry of us paying around €12,000 in international fees when we only live a few hours up the road. It is a relief that I can finish my degree without the worry of paying high fees,” said Louise McLarnon, a first year DCU student from Belfast.
“I hope it also might encourage Northern Irish students to Dublin. Universities in the North will lose EU funding so their fees will probably be higher, which might entice people. The other thing is we need a soft border, otherwise students won’t come down,” she said.
The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and the National Union of Students (NUS-USI) have both welcomed the amendments included by TD Thomas Byrne, which are set to become law.
The USI has said that the amendments will put an end to speculation on the status of UK students, primarily from Northern Ireland, planning to study in Ireland.
“We’re delighted to welcome this amendment, which goes some way to protecting students from the UK from the chaos and adversity Brexit is likely to bring. Many students who had their hearts set on studying in Ireland will now be able to breathe a sigh of relief and get stuck in to making plans,” USI President Síona Cahill said.
NUS-USI President Olivia Potter-Hughes said she is delighted that one of their concerns regarding Brexit has been mitigated. However, there are a number of issues that they are still concerned about, including continued student and academic mobility cross-border on the island of Ireland, mutual recognition of qualifications from the UK and EU and maintaining protections and rights within the 1998 Belfast agreement.
“We would anticipate if fees stay the same numbers would also, but this is dependent on what implications Brexit will have on physical cross border mobility, which is as yet undetermined,” she told The College View.
Image Credit: PicServer