Trinity seeks to admit fees-free direct provision students

Trinity College Dublin is looking for a way to admit, free of any fees, students living in direct provision.

College provost Dr Patrick Prendergast said a taskforce would examine ways of getting students, from direct provision, who do well in the Leaving Cert into TCD.

He described the asylum seeker accommodation system used in Ireland as “a terrible thing”, in an interview published in the current issue of Hot Press.

Young people in direct provision are classified as non-EU students and that means they are obliged to pay the non-EU college fee – upwards of €20,000.

“They can't afford the EU fee of €3,000, let alone the higher amount,” he said.

Dr Prendergast said they wanted students from direct provision to come to TCD as they would increase the cultural diversity of the college community.

We want them here. They would add to our diversity and bring brains, intelligence, commitment and motivation to the university.

He also reflected on whether the Government would be supportive of the college admitting students in direct provision free of fees.

“I suppose they're worried that we might become known as a country that you could come to as an asylum-seeking student and then get a free education.

"But would that be a bad thing?"

Dr Prendergast also warned about the negative effect that a no-deal Brexit would have on TCD and other Irish universities.

“It would be very bad for Trinity and for all Irish third level institutions because student mobility will change,” he said.

Dr Prendergast said Trinity saw itself as a university for the whole island of Ireland.

“We've made a big effort to have more students from Northern Ireland come south. The number had been increasing by about 20% every year but, in 2018, it dropped by 20% because of the uncertainty.

“A student from, say, Derry is going to be a non-EU student and therefore have to pay five times as much in fees.”

Trinity, meanwhile, has developed a global relations strategy which has doubled international student enrolments.

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