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CAO: 60% of courses see fall in point requirements

59% of level 8 applicants for their first choice, and 85% of students got their top three

POINTS HAVE FALLEN for 60% of CAO courses this year said Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, the minister said that “we’ve seen more students getting their first choice this year than any year at all”.

“We’ve seen more Leaving Cert students getting their first choice this year than last year, we’ve seen 85% of students getting their top three choices up on last year, and crucially we’ve seen the first fall in medicine in many years.”

Points fell across all five undergraduate medicine courses as a result of extra places on offer, and less students hitting the 600 point threshold. 200 new places have also been purchased for southern students in northern universities.

Points for arts, business, science, and engineering rose. Engineering at UCD has risen by ten point – 567 to 577 – while Arts at Maynooth has risen 28 points – 310 to 338.

The CAO has said it has sent out 87,075 first round offers. Of those, 59% were for first preference level 8 courses, with 90% being for level 6/7 courses. 85% of level 8, and 99% of level 6/7 offers were for top three preferences.

The increase in first round offers comes despite grade inflations being applied to this year’s Leaving Certificate results. The move was called for by Minister for Education Norma Foley, and has drawn criticism from some corners, including universities.

While Harris said that he believes that inflation should be phased out from next year, he thinks Foley made the right decision with regard this years exam.

“We needed to avoid a cliff edge, and there needed to be a fairness to Leaving Cert students applying to the CAO this year.”

The biggest concern for those accepting places in this years round of offers will be the securing of housing. While the government has emphasised measures such as the rent-a-room scheme, student unions have maintained that there is still a major shortage in accommodation for students.

The Central Applications Office said it has issued 87,075 Round One offers to 57,980 CAO applicants, comprised 52,949 Level 8 course offers and 34,126 Level 7/6 course offers.

Over 31,000 students will have received offers for their first preference course.

Round One offers must be accepted by 3pm on Tuesday, 5 September.

Round Two offers will then be released at 2pm on 11 September – and we’ll have all the points right here on The Journal later that afternoon.

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