According to the Irish Times, a new plan asking universities to increase their capacity in many courses is due to be presented to the Cabinet by Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris next week.
Oversubscribed courses including nursing, law, medicine and engineering could see an increase in size by up to 5%.
Increasing spots would ease the pressure on applicants to higher education this year by lowering the points necessary to gain admission to high-demand courses.
Government officials are reported to have identified “several hundred” possible additional college places for the new academic year.
Officials have also suggested that this move may be in anticipation of fewer students travelling abroad for their studies, leading to higher demand in Irish universities.
The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) released a statement today in response to the news calling for additional resources to facilitate the increase in students.
Mentioning the termination of many short-term teaching staff in universities this year, Frank Jones, Deputy General Secretary of IFUT said: “We simply can’t be expected to miraculously deliver more teaching with fewer teachers.”
Jones also criticised the “funding crisis” in the higher education sector. He stated: “State funding per student to third-level institutions is now 40% below what it was a decade ago. This financial model has become unsustainable and untenable.”
Leaving Certificate students are due to receive their calculated grades on September 7, with round one offers being released by the Central Applications Office (CAO) on September 11.
Incoming first year undergraduate students are expected to commence Freshers week on September 28, with other students beginning their academic classes from the same date.