Medicine and law big pullers

March 12, 2004

Students from the UK made up less than 3 per cent of 60,000 applications for Ireland's seven universities and 37 other higher education institutions received last year by the Central Applications Office.

Most of the 1,610 applications from the UK (1,213) were from Northern Ireland and only 397 from the rest of Britain. Some 400 accepted offers of places.

Irish candidates get points for each grade in their school-leaving certificate examination under a standardised system. But the process can vary from institution to institution for UK applicants. Some universities look at "non-standard" applications individually, while Trinity College Dublin has a fixed tariff for A levels.

Medicine, veterinary medicine and law are popular with UK applicants. The fact that they can accumulate A-level results over more than one "sitting" can cause resentment among Irish candidates who can offer only results from a single year of the leaving certificate.

UK students, like other European Union nationals, are not liable for tuition fees, which were abolished in the mid-1990s. But students pay a €670 (£446) registration charge that increases year by year, as well as an application fee of €40 (€30 online). EU nationals may apply for a means-tested grant of €1,155 to €2,885.

Details: Central Applications Office www.cao.ie

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