Demand for college places to exceed supply by 2015

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According to the Higher Education Authority’s Chief Executive Tom Boland, this year’s crop of Leaving Certificate students may be the last to avail of the approximate equality between the number of higher education places that are available to them and the demand to fill those places.

Speaking to the Irish Times, Mr Boland  commented: ‘This is the last year or at best second-last when the supply of higher education places will match demand … From 2015, demographic growth will lead to inexorably rising demand for places. Unless the funding conundrum can be fixed this will lead to problems for quality or access or both.’

The HEA estimates that the demand for undergraduate places will increase by as much as 15 per cent by the end of the decade. This is likely to result in a much more competitive, meritocratic selection process – particularly in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) areas, which are widely seen as the areas with the greatest employment potential.

Such developments are likely to place a greater level of importance on the role of school counsellors and advisors as students will increasingly rely on them for guidance when it comes to exploring the higher education options that are (realistically) available to them.



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