Rebound in the number of European students, but Ireland faces European competition

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But according to international education stakeholders, while there has been an increase in the number of EU-27 students in 2021, Irish institutions should also prepare for increased competition from providers in the Netherlands, Germany and Italy.

Provisional admissions figures compiled by The temperature suggest that almost 17,000 EU students have enrolled at Trinity College Dublin for this academic year, an increase of 8% on two years ago. Other institutions also saw increases, such as the University of Limerick and Maynooth University recording two-year increases of 34% and 28% respectively, and students at University College Cork EU rose by 18% last year.

A total of 1,760 EU students enrolled at Dublin City University this year, a 20% increase from two years ago, The temperature Noted.

“There has been a substantial increase in the number of EU students in the Irish university system, with an average increase of around 20% from 2020 to 2022, split between undergraduate and postgraduate programmes”, said Lewis Purser, director of learning, teaching and academic affairs. at the Irish Universities Association told the newspaper.

“The data shows that EU students increasingly view Irish universities as a high-quality destination where, as fellow EU citizens, they can continue to benefit from the same terms and conditions, including fee, than Irish students.

“It compares to their current status in the UK where they have to pay considerably higher international fees and also obtain visas and work permits. The IUA expects this trend to continue, particularly as Irish universities become more integrated into European university networks and more Irish students travel to other EU countries with Erasmus scholarships.

“We have indeed seen a renewed interest from EU-27 students in 2021,” Gerrit Bruno Blöss, Founder and CEO of Study.eu told The PIE.

“While this has fallen further, it is still higher than before Brexit. Our users tend to look at study options 12-18 months before enrolment.”

A 2020 survey by the Studies Search Platform found that Ireland was only the fourth most popular alternative in the UK, mentioned by 16% of survey respondents, Blöss added. The Netherlands were ranked first, followed by Germany and then France.

“It was a bit surprising as English is spoken; and although it is a smaller country, it still has many good universities to choose from,” he said.

Carmen Neghina, senior marketing analytics consultant at Studyportals, also suggested that Ireland benefits from Brexit, with EU students no longer eligible for tuition fee status and access to student loans in the UK. United.

“In relative terms, German, French and Portuguese students are now more interested in Ireland than in 2020”

“Ireland benefited from declining student interest in the UK last year, but this year we expect more competition for students from the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. “, she told The PIE.

Growth in interest accelerated from July, with August, September and October being “particularly intense” in terms of growth, she said.

“Student interest in Ireland is growing from the Netherlands, but also from Poland, Romania and Portugal, perhaps due to their previous reliance on UK student loans. It is stable or down slightly compared to other EU countries.

Blöss also added that Ireland may have benefited in 2021 from the fact that other English-speaking countries beyond Europe are inaccessible due to the pandemic.

“In relative terms, German, French and Portuguese students are now more interested in Ireland than in 2020,” he acknowledged.

“Beyond Europe, we see growth opportunities in source countries like Pakistan, South Africa and Saudi Arabia with increased interest in Irish degrees.” Other stakeholders have previously suggested that African students turn to Ireland, with its “friendly” tuition fees and cost of living, as well as high visa denial rates that discourage students from Canada.

Irish universities have also reported an increase in the number of non-EU students. DCU is up 23% among non-EU students this year, TCD up 11%, UCD up 9% and UL up 17% over two years. Maynooth University saw a more modest 4% increase in non-EU admissions, while University College Cork saw its non-EU enrollment decline by 4%, The temperature found.

Recent university mergers in Ireland may also have an impact, Blöss said.

“Another factor determining Ireland’s success could be recent university mergers with new institutions such as TU Dublin, TU Shannon and the new Atlantic Technological University,” he said.

Higher and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Minister Simon Harris opened the new Atlantic TU on April 4, describing the state’s fourth TU – the University of Munster being the other – as a “significant opportunity for higher education in Ireland”.

The merger of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Sligo Institute of Technology and Letterkenny Institute of Technology to form Atlantic TU will see the creation of an education ‘powerhouse’ for Sligo, it said. -he adds.

Attracting more international students will be one of the main aims of the new university, Orla Flynn, president of the Atlantic TU, told Independent.ie.

‘We will attract international talent who want to study high quality tech university programs in a beautiful part of Ireland,’ she said.

“Mergers always take time and effort, but synergies in marketing and branding make it easier to reach and attract students from foreign countries,” Blöss concluded.

Laura Harmon, executive director of the Irish Council for International Students, noted that the lack of affordable accommodation, racism and the rising cost of living are issues that “must be addressed if Ireland is to continue to attract international students. “.

During a speech at the IIEA Young Professionals Network on March 22, Harris noted a “series of initiatives [in Europe] which play on Ireland’s strength in building institutional partnerships, which grow from strong people-to-people relationships”.

“I am particularly concerned that partnerships in continuing education are increasing”

He spoke of Irish universities involved in seven partnerships under the European University Initiative, a “huge increase” in Horizon funding and an increase in funding for the Erasmus programme.

“I’m particularly looking forward to more continuing education partnerships – we all associate Erasmus with higher education. He is more than that. We need to do more in this space,” he noted, however.

“While I paint a positive picture of our place in Europe, I must also speak of our engagement with the UK,” the Minister continued.

“I have always been adamant that Brexit should not define or restrict the rich history of engagement between our education systems. I want this to continue and grow. I recently visited university campuses in Derry and Belfast, and I am struck by the enthusiasm to collaborate on both sides of the border.

“I have met my counterparts in Scotland, England and Wales, and once again the desire to work with us is more than ever present. These relations will remain a constant in the relations between Ireland and the UK, as it should be.”

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