Universities want extra Irish student places to be funded by the government in the coming academic year to replace a sharp drop in the number of international students, writes Carl O’Brien for The Irish Times.

The Irish Universities Association is seeking a €230 million (US$252 million) stability fund which it says could provide additional student places in access programmes for those from under-represented backgrounds, as well as improved grants and wellbeing supports. It says this funding would also include a fund to support a “major international marketing campaign” to attract international students whose value in export earnings for the universities alone is close to €400 million per year. Latest available figures show there were about 17,000 international students enrolled in Irish universities last year. About two-thirds of international students are based in undergraduate programmes.

Some universities have estimated that international student numbers could fall by up to 80% in the coming academic year. 

Read more : Carl O’Brien : The Irish Times : University World News : 09 May 2020