Northern Ireland students studying in the Republic could face higher fees post-Brexit
Northern Ireland students studying in the Republic could face higher university fees post-Brexit, new research has revealed.
A joint government analysis on cross-border enrolments also found the number of students from the Republic of Ireland studying in Northern Ireland since 2011 has fallen by more than a third.
The recently published report was compiled jointly by Northern Ireland's Department for the Economy (DfE) and the Republic of Ireland's Department of Education and Skills (DES).
According to the figures, the number of students from the Republic studying in Northern Ireland's Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) fell from 3,520 in 2011/2012 to 2,195 in 2015/2016 - a 38% drop.
DfE figures covering 2016/2017 show there was a further drop of 100 students from the previous year.
The number of Northern Ireland students enrolled at Republic of Ireland HEIs increased from 970 in 2011/12 to 1,200 in 2015/16 - a rise of 24%.
The analysis warned that post-Brexit this picture could change, however, as fees for non-EU students studying in the Republic are much higher.
"Despite the many benefits of cross border student flows, there are challenges coming downstream; not least the planned exit of the UK from the EU," the report said.
"For instance, NI students coming to ROI HEIs to study may in the future be liable for non-EU fees, which can be considerable. This may reduce the flow of students from NI to the ROI in the aftermath of the UK exit from the EU.
"Issues such as this need to be given serious consideration by policy makers both sides of the border."
Currently, students from Northern Ireland in the Republic pay the same fee, in the form of a 'student contribution', as students from the Republic of Ireland. That fee is capped at €3,000 a year.
Fees for non-EU students studying in the Republic are considerably higher, ranging anywhere from €9,750 to €54,153 annually, according to the Education in Ireland information website.
Belfast Telegraph Digital