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Teenager in direct provision gets 575 points, but can’t afford college fees

Anna Kern and her mother moved to Ireland from Ukraine in 2013.

File photo
File photo
Image: Sam Boal/rollingnews.ie

A STUDENT WHO secured 575 Leaving Cert points will be unable to attend college this year because of the high fees faced by asylum seekers.

Anna Kern, a former pupil of Coláiste Nano Nagle in Limerick, has lived in direct provision accommodation with her mother since moving to Ireland from Ukraine two years ago.

The school’s principal, Marion Cummins, told RTÉ that Anna wants to study physiotherapy at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin.

Education minister Jan O’Sullivan is due to meet Anna on Friday to discuss the situation, she said.

Treated as international students

Cummins called on the government to allow students in the asylum system pay the same fees as their Irish counterparts.

Asylum-seeking students are currently treated as international students, meaning they face annual fees of between €10,000 to €50,000 for undergraduate courses.

“There should be supports going forward for these people to go into third level, particularly the students who have the ability and particularly the students who want to learn,” Cummins said.

They are eager to learn – they are going to stay. She is not going to go back to the country she came from.

Earlier this year, Jan O’Sullivan said she was committed to ensuring students in direct provision are treated equally to Irish students.

The proposed plan, however, will only see college fees reduced for asylum seekers who have been in the system for over five years.

Read: Here’s how students got on in the Leaving Cert >

Read: One person has been in an asylum centre for 11 years – this is how they live >

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Catherine Healy

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