Look to our colleges as affordable option, Ireland is saying

Ed Forry

By Ed Forry
High school seniors and their parents looking for another, more affordable option for college should consider the colleges and universities in Ireland. That’s the message being delivered by Ireland’s Minister for Education and Science, Tánaiste Mary Coughlan, who will be in Boston late this month to promote an Irish government marketing effort to attract American high school students to enroll in Irish colleges and universities.
A one-day “Education Ireland Student Fair” is set for September 27, at the Newton Marriott. The mission is being organized by Enterprise Ireland, a government agency that promotes educational and business ties.
Nick Marmion, the Toronto-based Enterprise Ireland’s senior vice president for Education Services in North America, said the student fair is targeting high school seniors to enroll full-time in a college or university in Ireland.
“The focus in Boston is on four things,” Marmion said in an interview. “Meeting Irish masters students from MIT and BC and US university contacts of the Irish Universities at a reception; a visit by the Tánaiste to Boston College; a breakfast briefing for high school counselors to tell them more about undergraduate study in Ireland; [and] an Education Ireland Student Fair so that students and parents can find out more directly from the colleges about studying in Ireland.”
He says the event “is the start of a two-year push to promote Ireland in the US as a destination for junior year abroad, undergraduate studies, and masters programs.”
The Boston Irish Consulate is assisting in organizing the mission and getting word out to high school seniors, parents and counselors. The education trade fair will be “a key part of (the Tanasite’s) visit for students who may be interested in pursuing third level studies in Ireland,” said Vice Consul Deirdre Ní Fhallúin “There are some great opportunities for US students and I’m sure this will be of interest to many in the community.” 
Fourteen Irish colleges and universities will be showcased in Boston. Participants include:
Dublin City University, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, and the University of Limerick; Institutes of Technology in Athlone, Blanchardstown, Sligo, Letterkenny, and Waterford; the National College of Ireland and Griffith College of Dublin. Also participating is IOTI, a representative body for Ireland’s university-level institutes.
The mission is the first step in a marketing effort announced in March by Taoiseach Brian Cowen to bring the sons and daughters of Irish emigrants all over the world to study in Ireland. The Ireland Homecoming Study Programme (IHSP) will offer reduced tuition costs of up to 40 percent less than the standard rate for non-EU students. The program aims to attract over 500 students over the next three years.
IHSP studies report that the current worldwide recession has reduced the cost of living in Ireland, and an over-supply of rental accommodation gives the students the power to drive rents down. It's a “win-win situation in a country where the average third-level institution tuition fees start at around $11,000, depending on the course and duration of stay,” according to Education Ireland.
After Boston, the mission delegates will continue to Chicago and St. Louis. More information about attending college in Ireland is available online at educationireland