College spent over €1.1m on recruitment of non-EU undergraduate and postgraduate students during the 2017/18 financial year, starting October 1 2017 to July 31 of this year. The figures were obtained after a request under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act.
The €1,149,335.60 bill included €123,458.93 on travel and €646,000.81 on “agency fees”. A further €57,731.67 was spent on attendance at conferences and fairs, €2,853.51 on hospitality costs for delegations, and €18,611.15 on memberships and affiliations to various higher education bodies. “Professional services” described as “costs incurred for our presence overseas” totalled €300,679.64.
A March 2018 Higher Education Authority (HEA) report noted that 2,875 Trinity students came from outside of the EU.
In an email statement, Director of Internationalisation, Fedelma McNamara commented: “For Trinity, being a global university is about pursuing strategies that engage Trinity with the world. The last four years have seen significant achievements in terms of international student recruitment, student mobility, and university partnerships. Student mobility has grown over the last five years as we have developed more student exchange agreements with Universities overseas. In addition, we have built a number of large-scale partnerships, which have delivered not just on student numbers but have also led to research collaborations in certain instances.”
McNamara continued: “Trinity’s ranking for international outlook (Times Higher Education) rose from 40 in 2015 to 27 in 2018. Trinity is the leading Irish university in the QS rankings for International Faculty (98.4) and International Students (89.5). In 2017/18, we had students from 123 countries and alumni in 130 countries with 40% of academic staff coming from outside of Ireland.”
“There has been significant growth over the last six years in non-EU student numbers. A non-EU recruitment strategy with Regional Officers and Country Advisors focused on promoting Trinity undergraduate and postgraduate education has been instrumental in achieving the results to date through relationship management with key stakeholders such as students, parents, international high school counsellors, university partners, researchers, government bodies and education agents.”
“Non-EU on-campus growth to 2018/19 has largely been met from the following markets: Tier 1: USA, India, China (regular visits, team based on ground, rapid growth), Tier 2: Turkey, Canada, Brazil, Hong Kong, Russia, Kazakhstan, Gulf States (UAE, Kuwait), Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia (regular visits, potential for growth in short-term), Tier 3: Nigeria, Ukraine, Latin America, South Korea, Philippines (visits for specific events e.g. Education Ireland, potential for growth in mid-to-long term).”
In July of this year, College reversed a proposed 5% increase in fees for non-EU and postgraduate students – the second reversal of the same decision within five months. Affected students noticed the fee increase when it was charged to their my.tcd.ie accounts. The move breached the fee certainty agreement which followed the Take Back Trinity protests in March. Postgraduate students had previously threatened strike action when the decision to first introduce the increased fees was made by the College’s Finance Committee in October 2017.
College was not available for comment at the time of publication.