Research shows that parents really do get what they pay for
All parents want what is best for their child, but will often ask if it is worth sending their son or daughter to a fee-paying school.
For some, it is not an option as not everyone has the financial means to meet the associated costs. Those who do must weigh up these costs with the perceived benefits of sending children to fee-paying schools.
Many do so in the hope it will help their children gain places in prestigious universities and courses once they have completed the Leaving Certificate. Others will want their children to benefit from different subject choices or hope attending a fee-paying school will enable their child to learn in an environment that caters to specific needs.
Our research shows attending a fee-paying school does impact on a student's likelihood to enrol at some of the country's top universities.
Students from fee-paying schools are more likely to go on to study in the country's top-ranked institutions. They are also less likely to opt for places in technical courses and institutes of technology.
Data compiled by the Sunday Independent shows students coming from fee-paying schools accounted for 10pc of all college enrolments since 2009.
However, the likelihood of these students securing places in Trinity College, UCD and the Royal College of Surgeons is well above average.
Students from the fee-paying sector accounted for 1,057 new entrants to UCD last year - more than any other university or institute of technology.
Another 621 students from a fee-paying background went on to Trinity College last September. University College Cork and the Dublin Institute of Technology also take in significant amounts of students from fee-paying feeder schools with 335 and 545 students respectively last September.
The Royal College of Surgeons and Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (DLIADT) also see significant amounts of their places taken up by students from fee-paying schools.
Fee-paying students have also displayed a willingness to take up more creative courses and professions, explaining why 25pc of students to take places in DLIADT since 2009 came from a fee-paying background. The National College of Art and Design also ranks highly among the choices for fee-paying students, as they account for 19pc of places taken up there, as does Shannon College of Hotel Management (now part of NUI Galway), with 14pc.
Data shows less than 1pc of students have been placed in UK colleges between 2009 and 2011. More recent figures have not been available but the UK remains and option for some students.