Barriers to equal access to third-level still out there
The huge increase in the numbers progressing to third-level suggest in-roads in the battle to broaden access across the class divide. Almost 60pc of 18 to 20-year-olds in Ireland are in college compared with about 44pc almost decade ago. But, such comforting headlines mask the troubling picture painted in the new 'who goes where' data.
Why is it, for instance, that only one in four Trinity freshers are on a student grant, while in Letterkenny IT, it is almost three in four? The Irish mammy's apron strings may take some of the blame for the strong tradition of students attending the college closest to them.
There are wider reasons, among them cultural barriers faced in families with no history of third-level education.