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The International Student Blog

Ireland drops the ball attracting International Students

Posted on January 26th, 2010 by Jennifer Frankel

Foreign students represent a huge revenue source for the big players in the market. For example, the UK and Australia have an international student market that is estimated to be worth €12 billion and countries like New Zealand receives around €1.5 billion per year.

Compare that with Ireland, and yearly revenue from International Students here only reach around €900 million per year – and when you take out English Language Schools in Ireland the figure drops to €400 million. In 2008, applications from India were down by 44% compared to the previous year and Chinese applications had fallen by almost 29%.

So why is Ireland so far behind in attracting international students to its shores? Surely an English speaking country, with the history and stature of Ireland would be an ideal place for international students to study.

There are are number of factors working against Ireland, most notably the strength of the Euro makes the cost of studying higher, and the recent recession has meant the availability of part time jobs when studying in Ireland have been sparse. But, the majority of the blame for the drop in international students has to fall on Ireland and schools themselves.

“There isn’t a great awareness of Ireland, in Asia especially,” says Prof Ciarán Ó Catháin, president of Athlone IT, an institution that has made attracting international students a key priority. “At the moment, the universities are branding themselves under the Irish Universities Association. We’re trying to brand ourselves under Institutes of Technology Ireland. We just don’t have the joined-up thinking necessary to give us a coherent approach.”

But even if schools and colleges could raise awareness, the second problem is the process to obtain a student visa for Ireland. Students can expect to wait up to 4 weeks for an answer on visa approval – the same process takes no more than 48 hours if you wish to study in the UK. The amount of paperwork also needed to apply for a visa compared to the UK is also substantially more – and students from China, in particular, have rejection rates of over 40%.

The Minister for Education in Ireland, Batt O’Keeff, has now recognized the need for a coordinated effort to both boost the image of Ireland as a destination to study, plus make it easier for students to gain student visas. However, it all seems its a little too late – the current economic environment will also not help matters.

For more information on this article, please see the original source from the Irish Times. Please also leave any feedback or comments below and let us know if you think Ireland has “dropped the ball”.

9 Responses to “Ireland drops the ball attracting International Students”

  1. Jossy Says:

    I would really need to get an answer to the question”why ireland doesnt get lots of international students”.
    I provide similar information and I am very interested so as to inform my users.
    Thanks in anticipation.


    […] Ireland drops the ball attracting International Students « The … […]

  3. Job Finder Says:

    How could we use this to this personalized existence?

  4. Ollie Says:

    Nice post, international education seems to be getting more and more popular.

  5. Cameron Says:

    There is a real problem with preception and awareness of students in Thailand – for example we try to promote somewhere like Queens Belfast but the majority of our customers choose not to consider it and instead follow the well trodden path to the big civics in England regardless of other factors such a cost / subject etc

  6. marocup Says:

    merci bouceaup…

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  9. Santhosh Kumar Says:


    Thanks for the info…
    I want more info on VISA rejection rate from India.

    Am Santhosh Kumar, from India

    I have got a scholarship from University of Limerick to pursue MEng in Computer and Communications Systems of 1 year.
    Now the classes will begin by 3rd September.

    Following are my status:-
    1) My TOEFL score is 92
    2) Got 50% Scholarship on the Tuition fee
    3) I’ve already paid 3500 Euro’s
    4) Only 3000 Euro’s are remaining
    4) I have funds of 11000 Euro’s (But 7000 Euro’s are transferred from other bank accounts from mom, sister, myself etc)
    5) 11000 Euro’s are not there in the account from past 6 months
    6) The 7000 Euro’s which were transferred from other accounts where there maintained from 6 months.

    Following are my queries:-
    1) I’ve learn that the funds shown must be maintained in the account for more than 6 months to get a Student VISA.
    2) In my case will this cause a problem?
    3) I’ll pay the remaining 3000 Euro’s ie my Tuition Fee at the earliest.

    Please let me know if I won’t have any problem to gain a Student VISA.
    Else suggest some solutions considering my situation.

    Much thanks in advance in guiding me and sharing your thoughts about this.
    Awaiting for your reply,


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