The Irish Universities Association (IUA) have called for funding for a €20 million advertising campaign to attract international students to Irish universities to be included in the next programme for government.
Jim Miley, director general of the IUA, stated: “Covid-19 has led to a collapse in the international student market.”
Speaking on RTE Radio, he added: “But the challenges of Covid-19 will be overcome and Ireland must be positioned to recover, and potentially grow, our market share by having a coherent plan in place.”
Irish universities are currently facing a funding crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This will have a substantial impact on a number of universities’ revenue streams, which includes fees paid by international students to study in Ireland.
The IUA has estimated that universities will fall short of €181 million in international fees income in the next academic year. This prompted the proposed €20m ad campaign to be funded by the government to attract overseas students.
The IUA’s proposed action plan is to include a €10 million international marketing campaign, which will be led by Enterprise Ireland through the Education in Ireland brand. A further €10 million in funds for the individual recruitment campaigns of universities and other third-level colleges will be included in the action plan.
Miley stated that Ireland has “many advantages” for international students, as an EU member, being an English-speaking and having a reputation for high-quality education.
On the Brendan O’Connor show on RTE Radio One, Miley explained that the loss of the international student fees will see a “substantial hit” in universities’ revenue, as international students pay more fees when attending our colleges.
Miley claimed that international students fees inadvertently substantiate Irish students’ education in this way.
“We hope to hold on to international students already studying here, but the big challenge is bringing in First year students,” he said.
Miley stated that “blended learning” will be experienced by most students come September. He explained that this would mean no large scale lectures immediately, however this will vary by college.
He claimed that they are working closely with the Department of Education and Higher Education Authority (HEA), and the plans would be announced in a few weeks.
In 2019, the number of international students studying in Irish Universities reached 14,412. In Trinity this year, 30% of students were international students.
College spent over €1.4m on recruitment of non-EU undergraduate and postgraduate students during the 2018/19 financial year