Belfast Telegraph

Local student body welcomes Dublin's assurances over fees

By Cate McCurry

The National Union of Students Northern Ireland has welcomed proposals by the Irish Government to mitigate potential impacts of Brexit on tuition fees for students studying on a cross-border basis in 2019.

Dublin has confirmed it will continue supporting students applying to universities in the United Kingdom, as well as Northern Ireland students wishing to study in the Republic, after Brexit.

Students from Northern Ireland had expressed concern over whether they would be treated as non-EU after the UK leaves the European Union in March, meaning they would have to pay much higher fees.

NUS-USI president Olivia Potter-Hughes said: "I am pleased that the Irish Government has provided assurances to mitigate any impact of Brexit on cross-border students' tuition fees.

"NUS-USI has been lobbying for a long time on our concerns regarding the potential impact of Brexit on the fee status of students from Northern Ireland studying in the Republic of Ireland, and also the impact on fees for students from Ireland studying in the North. Cross-border student mobility is profoundly important not just for student opportunities, but also for the economy across this island."

Ireland's Minister for Education Joe McHugh said his government will continue to support university students planning to study in the UK and UK nationals wishing to attend colleges in Ireland. It means eligible Irish and EU nationals, who want to study in the UK for the 2019/20 academic year, will be able to avail of SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) grants.

UK students who enrol for the 2019/20 academic year will be eligible for free fees and student grant schemes. This includes the student contribution fee for Irish and EU citizens which currently stands at €3,000 for the 2018/19 academic year.

This means that current student grant and tuition fee arrangements will continue to apply for those students entering higher education in the 2019/2020 academic year.

There are currently 10,070 Irish students studying in the UK, while 1,319 Northern Ireland students attend universities in the Republic at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

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