Colleges' reliance on the fees from foreign students laid bare
The growing reliance of Irish third-level colleges on fees from foreign students and other non-State funding is laid bare in a new report out today.
Third-level enrolments hit a record high of 232,000 in 2017/18, including 17,237 non-EU students, according to data from the Higher Education Authority (HEA).
Non EU students, mainly from Asia, made up 7pc of students across third level, up from 5pc five years earlier and, within the universities, the figure is 10pc - up from 6pc.
Higher fees paid by foreign students are an increasingly important source of revenue for the sector in the face of a severe cut in State funding for higher education in the past decade.
Non-EU as well as postgraduate students pay what is known as non-Exchequer fees and between them they contributed more than €850m of the €2.4bn total income to the higher education sector in 2015/16, compared with about €465m five years earlier.
Over the same period, State grants and fees to the sector for general running costs fell from about €1.2bn to about €916m.