Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland pupils in limbo over Republic's tuition fees after Brexit

SDLP MLA Nichola Mallon
SDLP MLA Nichola Mallon
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

Northern Ireland pupils hoping to start university in the Republic in 2019 have been left in limbo over how much their tuition fees will be after Brexit.

Currently, non-EU students pay much higher fees than students from the Republic and other EU countries.

But with less than a month to go before the deadline for the first stage of applications, no guidance has yet been issued.

There has been a gradual rise in the number of students from Northern Ireland studying in the south in recent years and there are now calls for clarity from the Republic on fees.

Those attending university in the Republic currently pay a "student contribution" of £2,700 a year, the same as those from the Republic and the EU. Most receive a student loan to cover the cost.

However, those fees could rise by more than £9,000 a year if Northern Ireland students were classed as non-EU after Brexit.

Students from here who are already at an Irish university have been told their current fees will not change during their degree. However, those intending to begin their studies in September 2019 have received no guarantees, despite the first stage of the application process closing on February 1.

SDLP North Belfast MLA Nichola Mallon said she has now written to the Irish Government asking for advice and clarity for northern students after Brexit.

Ms Mallon said: "Students still have no clear indication as to their status or the level of fees they will have to pay post Brexit leaving many too unsure to follow their dream and apply.

"This is another example of how the chaotic response of the British Government to Brexit is having a detrimental impact on the lives of young people in Northern Ireland. This chaos is not of the Irish government's making but it is important that where it can, it provides clarity for northern students."

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