Belfast Telegraph

Poll: Should UK pay for Republic students to study in Northern Ireland?

By Jill Goligher

Last year it cost the Department for the Economy almost £5m to educate further education students from the Republic of Ireland.

Former further education minister, Stephen Farry appealed to the Republic's Department of Education and Skills in 2014 and 2015.  The executive had previously sought compensation for the cost of educating FE students from the RoI.

In a statement to the BBC, the Department for the Economy said that they had paid for almost 2,500 students from the Republic of Ireland to be taught in Northern Ireland in 2015/16.

It stated: "2,471 enrolments by students from the Republic of Ireland who were funded through the FE block grant in the six Northern Ireland FE colleges, at a cost of £4.8m".

Official figures reveal the majority of those students are crossing the border from Donegal to attend North West Regional College. The largest number of students educated at further education colleges, outside Northern Ireland, come from the Republic of Ireland.

In 2014, the cost was estimated at £7m for educating students from the Republic of Ireland in Northern Ireland.

This resulted in Minister Farry telling a Stormont committee that "the government of Ireland are not fulfilling their duty to provide for the training and education of their young people, and we are, effectively, picking up the pieces". 

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