CHILDREN of Irish emigrants will now be able to access lower third level education fees in Ireland following a significant gesture by the Irish Government.
Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn, has announced that children of Irish emigrants who spend five years in primary or post primary school in Ireland will now pay lower college fees should they wish to return to Ireland.
The concession will benefit migrants who moved their families to the United States, Canada, Australia,New Zealand, Asia, and other regions outside the EU.
Up until now children who were in the Irish education system but moved away had to pay full international fees if they wanted to come back and study as undergraduates in Ireland.
Those fees, for non-EU students, range from €8,000 to over €20,000 per year, with the average level of fees well over €10,000.
That is in comparison to undergraduates from Ireland and other EU countries, who pay €2,500 a year in fees.
The new fee structure will apply to children of Irish families who may have moved abroad for economic or social reasons and therefore were taken out of the Irish education system.
Minister Quinn said: “The economic upheaval that this country has been through has seen many of our citizens move abroad in search of work. But, as our situation improves, we are already seeing more families moving home and this is very welcome.
“I want to ensure that the children of these migrants are not penalised when it comes to attending third level.”
A spokeswoman for Mr Quinn said that arrangements were being put in place for the new scheme to be introduced in time for the 2014-2015 academic year.