CHILDREN OF IRISH emigrants will now be able to access lower third level education fees.
Up until now children who were in the Irish education system but moved away had to pay full international fees if they wanted to come back and study as undergraduates in Ireland.
The Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn, announced that children of Irish emigrants and other qualifying European citizens who spend five years in primary or post primary school in Ireland will now pay lower college fees in Ireland.
Undergraduates from Ireland and other EU countries pay €2,500 a year in fees.
While international fees for non-EU students range from €8,000 to over €20,000 per year, averaging over €10,000.
The new fee structure will apply to children of Irish families who may have moved abroad for economic or social reasons and therefore were taken out of the Irish education system.
Minister Quinn said, “The economic upheaval that this country has been through has seen many of our citizens move abroad in search of work. But, as our situation improves, we are already seeing more families moving home and this is very welcome.
I want to ensure that the children of these migrants are not penalised when it comes to attending third level.
It will also apply to other qualifying European citizens who have schooled their children in Ireland or the EU.
Under the new system, any Irish, EU, EEA or Swiss student who has spent five years in primary school or second level in Ireland will be charged the same rate as other EU nationals to study at undergraduate level.
Arrangements are being put in place for the new fee scheme to be introduced for the coming academic year.
From this September, once they meet the criteria of having spent five years in the primary or secondary school here they can avail of the EU rate of third level fees.