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99% of young adults in D6 go to college, just 15% in D17

A report from the Higher Education Authority says we “urgently need to tap into the deep reservoirs of disadvantage”.

Image: lecture hall image via Shutterstock

A REPORT FROM the Higher Education Authority (HEA) has further pointed to disparities between wealthy and poor areas when it comes to participation in third level education.

The report notes that while there are signs of economic recovery, “substantial pressure remains on public and family finances and
there are many competing demands for limited resources”.

Though it mentions the progress that has been made through various reforms and initiatives over the years, the report says a focus is needed on specific groups.

There is a strong geographic and community dimension to under-representation, the report found, with a table showing the stark differences in participation between areas in Dublin.

In Dublin 6, participation by young people is at 99%, compared to just 15% in Dublin 17. Areas like Dublin 6w and Dublin 4 also show high participation rates.

Data shows that participation across counties is balanced, albeit slightly higher in counties like Galway, Roscommon, Clare and Cork.

Last year’s targets for increasing mature student participation were not reached and the report cited a number of financial barriers stopping lower income groups in the workforce from accessing higher education including fees for part-time courses and the cost of childcare.

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Targets for increasing participation by students with disabilities also were not met, but marked increases are noted.

The report says we “urgently need to tap into the deep reservoirs of disadvantage – for the good of the individuals concerned and sound economic reasons”.

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