NUS-USI welcomes Irish government assurances on cross border student fees
STUDENTS have welcomed a proposal by the Republic's government to freeze university fees for northern students post-Brexit.
Those from Northern Ireland starting university in the Republic in 2019 will not have to pay higher tuition fees, Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh said.
There had been fears that applicants would be treated as non-EU students post-Brexit and charged significantly more.
At present, students pay a contribution fee of €3,000 (£2,700) a year, the same as the rest of the EU. Non-EU students can be charged up to €15,000 more.
Mr McHugh said the existing arrangements would remain in place in 2019/20 for new entrants.
NUS-USI President Olivia Potter-Hughes said she was pleased adding the union disagreed with having tuition fees in the first place.
"However in light of the current system of fees, this is a positive announcement," she said.
"NUS-USI has been lobbying for a long time on our concerns regarding the potential impact of Brexit on the fee status of students from Northern Ireland studying in the Republic of Ireland, and also the impact on fees for students from Ireland studying in the north.
"Cross border student mobility is profoundly important not just for student opportunities, but also for the economy across this island."