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Written Answers - Third Level Enrolments

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 752 No. 2

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 110.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the total number of third level places available at third level institutions in each of the past three years to date in 2012; the extent to which this meets the requirements for third level places; his intentions if any to increase or make provisions for an increased number of places; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3315/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The number of full time enrolments in publicly funded higher education institutions over last three years are: 2008/09 — 148197; 2009/10 — 157946; 2010/11 — 161647. The actual enrolments in 2010/11 slightly exceed the projected demand for that year (161089). The number of places made available to students is a matter for higher education institutions. Projected demand calculations are published on the Department of Education and Skills website and show a sharp increase in demand to 2030.

At my request the HEA completed an initial report late last year on the implications of increased growth in numbers, funding challenges and measures of quality on the sustainability of the system. The report is published on the HEA website, captures the changes in funding over the last number of years, and provides some evidence to the impact of reductions. However, the HEA has emphasised that the study and the report are interim only and that substantial additional work now needs to be undertaken before comprehensive proposals as to how we can fund higher education on a sustainable basis into the future can be developed. The HEA is continuing its work in this area and I expect to receive further advice later this year.

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