Ukrainian students who flee to Ireland and want to continue their education will be treated as if they were Irish in terms of grants and fees, Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said.
They will be eligible to apply for the SUSI grant scheme and, where applicable, the €3,000 student contribution charge rather than the higher rate for ‘international’ students.
Most students who are awarded a SUSI grant, also have the €3,000 charge covered by the State.
Under normal rules, access to SUSI and Irish fee rates is limited to EU students or those domiciled in a limited number of other countries, which do not include Ukraine.
"We will make sure that any student who comes here will be treated as if they were EU citizens,” he said.
Mr Harris said it was essential that access to education was maintained and he discussed the situation with the EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, at a meeting on Monday.
He said it would be desirable if there was an EU-wide approach to dealing with students who arrive from Ukraine and want to continue their studies.
The minister said if the issue arose, he would work with the higher education institutions to help facilitate the students.
“We will look after any student who comes here,” he said.
There are about 170 Ukrainian students currently studying in Ireland, including 27 in UCD and 12 in Trinity College Dublin.
Trinity Provost Professor Linda Doyle said they would “do anything we can” to support Ukrainian students who arrived in Ireland.
Meanwhile, while 12 Irish students who were registered in Ukraine have left the country, around five are believed to be still there.
Mr Harris said he was determined that Russian and Ukrainian students studying in Ireland as as well as Irish students studying at third level institutions in Russia and Ukraine, would be supported “in these difficult times”.