3rd level applications increase despite financial pressures

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Earlier this month the CAO released it’s annual tally of CAO applications – and it makes for interesting reading.

A total of 71,186 applications were made by February 1st. This is the lowest figure since 2008 when 68,809 applied but, as the Irish Independent reports, there is an underlying upward trend since 2003 when 66,222 CAO applications were made.

So what gives? There may be a demographic cause for increased applications, but one would have expected the financial travails of students today to have had a diminishing affect. I am thinking of the torturous pace of student grant payment, and more importantly the steady upward trend of the Student Contribution Fee.

But financially challenging as attending college might be, there are undoubtedly opposing pressures encouraging higher education participation. For instance, the lack of work for school leavers, particularly in traditional areas such as construction; and also a general perception that college is not the worst place to ‘wait out’ the recession.

Whatever the motivation, we can only be pleased that an increasing number of Irish people are engaging with higher education.


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