College is expected to announce plans to significantly increase the number of non-EU students studying in Trinity over the next five years at tomorrow’s launch of the Strategic Plan 2014-2019, Trinity News has learned. Speaking to this newspaper, SU president, Domhnall McGlacken-Byrne, revealed that College has committed itself to raising the number of students from outside the EU from 7.8% to 18% by 2019, a growth he described as “a huge demographic change.” He said that it was difficult to determine whether this change would have a positive or negative impact on the overall student population.
College has previously identified an increased intake of international students as a means of boosting revenue in their Strategic Plan 2009-2014. Their mid-term review of the last strategic plan, carried out in 2012, stated that “the pre-dominance of students of Irish nationality dates from the late 1980s when Trinity oriented itself to meet the demand for higher education nationally. However in the last decade in particular Trinity has come to appreciate the educational and other benefits that accrue from a greater international orientation. The quality of our education will be enhanced by attracting the best students and staff in the world and by having a more culturally diverse student body.”
In terms of the college-wide impact of a surge in international student numbers, the authors of the review wrote that “with the student body composition clearly set to change, planning has begun to deal with the resulting consequences for the College’s finances, quality and reputation. For instance, the impact of increased student numbers on our staff:student ratio could be a matter of concern, and if not properly managed, could have implications for the quality of our teaching and the student experience, and in turn could affect our reputational standing.”
The Communications Office declined to comment on the issue when contacted by Trinity News.