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Number of students entering college up 10,000 in a decade

Posted by Sally O Brien, on 27/11/2014. Number of students entering college up 10,000 in a decadeTags: Education And Politics Parenting Teachers

According to the Irish Examiner, figures from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) show a leap in students now entering third-level honors courses in colleges, which is up by 10,000 in a decade. This leap shows that entry into honour degree level in Irish universities is now growing for the first time since 2008.

Among 47,000 college entrants this year, 35,248 are pursuing honours programmes, also known as Level 8. A jump from 2005-06, when there were 38,173 first years starting in Irish third-level colleges, 24,980 of whom were on honours courses. Based on the College progression data issued this morning, The Teresian School, Dublin 4; Sandford Park School, in Ranelagh, Dublin 6; and Glenstal Abbey, in Co Limerick, are the top three schools with the highest progression levels to High Point courses in 2014

For the first time since 2008, universities have registered more first-year students than Institutes of Technology, accounting for 46% of all places accepted, compared to the 14 Institutes’ 45%, with teacher-training colleges and smaller institutions making up the rest.

The data based on Central Applications Office (CAO) returns give an indication of which courses are being filled, ahead of preliminary information from colleges early next year.

These figures reflect a growing trend in students aiming higher and enrolling in honour degree courses (level 8) rather than technology courses (level 6/7) which had been more popular in the last few years.
HEA figures reflect there is a national shift in students aiming for higher point courses after their Leaving Certificate. It also reveals that because of a surge in students seeking honour degree courses, Irish Universities are responding and allocating more places to accommodate them.

Figures show the gap students entering in level 8 courses compared to level 7, with overall increase in college acceptances at 1.3%, while acceptances for level 6/7 were down 3.6%

View college progression data published on


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