Ukrainian students will get scholarships and free tuition
Ukrainian students will not have to pay international fees to access third-level courses in the Republic and will be eligible for state grants, under proposals that will soon be considered by the Coalition.
Further and Further Education Minister Simon Harris will present proposals to the government later this month to ensure incoming Ukrainian students are treated as Irish when gaining access to university courses.
The likely number of Ukrainians seeking to enter the third tier is not yet known. However, a helpdesk that has been set up for newly arrived students and researchers has so far handled 240 requests.
The latest figures indicate that nearly 30,000 Ukrainians – mostly women and children – have arrived in the state since the Russian invasion.
The weekly number of arrivals peaked at over 4,000 in late March/early April and has since fallen to around 1,600 per week.
So far, the main burden on the education system has fallen on primary schools and, to a lesser extent, on secondary schools.
A key focus in education for adult Ukrainian nationals has been to ensure that newcomers can access supports in English through the Education and Training Commission’s network.
As for those seeking access to third tier or higher education, Mr Harris said there will be financial aid, including access to laptops and digital devices, as part of the existing educational disadvantage.
The memo to the government will also ask for additional money for mental health services to ensure that adequate help is available for Ukrainian students.
Speaking on Friday, Mr Harris said Ukrainians’ access to education should not be hampered by “Putin’s illegal invasion”.
“Many Ukrainians continue their studies with Ukrainian colleges online,” he said.
“It is essential that we facilitate this and colleges across the country are already doing this. Offering English lessons and helping people find work here remains our biggest answer. »
He also confirmed that Ukrainian nationals are currently undergoing Safe Pass training to ensure they can work in construction.
Work is also underway within Quality and Qualifications Ireland to help recognize the qualifications of Ukrainians so that they can work here.
He said his proposals would ensure that “Ukrainians are treated as Irish students when entering higher education”.
This means that they will not have to pay higher international fees and can benefit from financial assistance when accessing higher education. This will be the equivalent of the Student Support Scheme, which is available to Irish students.
A National Student and Researcher Support Service, meanwhile, serves as a single national point of contact for Ukrainian students and researchers wishing to pursue their higher education in Ireland.
The help desk, made up of admissions counselors and researchers, has several functions, including: assessing students’ English levels; help them with documentation; and offer one-on-one assistance in identifying potential courses or work options that may be of interest to students or researchers.
It will also seek to refer applicants to the Adult Learning Guidance Services of Education and Training Councils, where options such as continuing education or apprenticeship may be more appropriate.
- The National Student and Researcher Helpdesk can be contacted at: [email protected] or +353 (0)1 474 778.8.