Irish students studying in Britain and other EU countries are to get maintenance grants from the Irish government.
This was announced last week in the budget which also confirmed the government's intention to phase out all tuition fees. Students will pay half fees this autumn and no fees next year. Tax relief on covenants is also to go.
In addition the government will introduce tax relief to families of students attending private third level colleges in the Republic. The number of such colleges has grown because of the demand for places from Irish students.
This demand has also led to a significant exodus of students to United Kingdom colleges - between 2,500 and 3,000 a year. Maintenance awards, which are means-tested, are already given to those who enrol in Northern Ireland colleges but now the government has decided to extend this provision to the rest of the EU.