TU Dublin pauses intake on 14 courses amid financial struggles

Irish regulator expressed ‘serious concerns’ over university’s multimillion-euro deficit earlier this year

June 4, 2024
A gate on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Roanoke is closed to through traffic.
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Ireland’s second largest university has suspended intake on 14 courses, each with fewer than 20 enrolled students, for the upcoming academic year, as it attempts to gain control of an almost €9 million (£7.7 million) deficit.

A spokesperson for Technological University Dublin confirmed that 14 courses would not accept students for the 2024-25 academic year, while a further four would be merged into one programme. Of the impacted courses, nine are level 8 honours degree programmes, in subject areas such as design, technology and innovation, computing, sustainable technologies and culinary science, while two are level 7 ordinary degree courses and the remainder award level 6 higher certificates.

The university had an overall deficit of €8.6 million, the spokesperson said, “equivalent to 2.4 per cent of our income of €362 million last year”.

“Every year, like all other higher education institutions, TU Dublin reviews its portfolio of CAO [Central Applications Office] courses, pausing some programmes and introducing others that we believe will be of interest to students,” the spokesperson said, noting that the institution would introduce two new programmes in biotechnology and data science with artificial intelligence in September.

A review in October 2023 “identified a number of continuous low-intake programmes with fewer than 20 students on each”, they continued. The impacted courses will be “redeveloped to update content and qualifications to attract greater student interest”.

“It is important to note that this review will not result in the absence of graduates with skills in these areas. Our other programmes – at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels – will continue to educate students in these domains as a core element of their coursework,” the spokesperson said.

Established in 2019 by the merger of three institutes of technology in the Irish capital, TU Dublin has more than 27,000 students, with University College Dublin the only larger university in Ireland. The institution has been beset by financial difficulties: in February the Higher Education Authority, the Irish regulator, ordered the governing body to review its management of a €8.6 million deficit, citing “serious concerns” about the institution’s “deteriorating financial position”.

The TU Dublin spokesperson said the governing body had submitted a review to the HEA, while “work on the development of a financial recovery plan to restore the university to financial stability is ongoing”.

In March, David FitzPatrick – president of TU Dublin since its formation – announced he would be leaving his post in order to become provost and chief executive of the University of Nottingham’s Malaysia branch campus. The following month, the physicist John Doran was appointed interim president of the institution.


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