68 students have received late offers from University College Dublin (UCD) on an “exceptional” basis after successfully having their Leaving Certificate results upgraded, Trinity News has learned. UCD had initially set a deadline of September 30 for students to get places on courses this year but relaxed these rules following the High Court ruling on Rebecca Carter’s case.
Speaking to Trinity News, UCD Media Relations Manager, Dominic Martella, explained that “68 students received new offers from UCD after successfully having their results upgraded”.
“It is too early to know how many of these students will take up their place this year or defer until next year,” Martella continued.
The High Court ruled in favour of Carter after her Leaving Cert exam points were incorrectly calculated by the State Examinations Commission (SEC). She challenged the SEC’s decision not to recheck her points score in time to allow her to obtain a place at UCD to study Veterinary Science. Her Business exam paper was upgraded so that she obtained the necessary points to join the UCD class.
UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) President Barry Murphy said that the court ruling should “set a precedent” in allowing future students to challenge their exam conditions without delay. The move by UCD to grant an additional 68 places may serve to increase pressure on the Department of Education and the SEC to ensure that students receive their grades much sooner. The decision was made in the interest of “fairness” to students.
In Carter’s case, the High Court ruled that the appeals process was “manifestly unfit for purpose” because the results of the exam marks appeals were not released until mid-October, up to six weeks after the academic year starts.
In Trinity, Academic Registry’s policy is to “do everything [it] can to offer a place” to students who receive upgrades through the recheck process. “However, the results of the recheck process are not issued until early October, at which time most courses are full and sometimes, it may not be possible to accommodate additional students.”
“In this case, the student will be offered a deferred place for the following year.”
In a statement, UCD alleges that students admitted late in the past tend to see their academic performance, health, and welfare suffer as they try to catch up on missed course work and become accustomed to college life.
The extended deadline this year is intended as a once-off, with September 30 to remain as the last day UCD makes offers next year. Any student who successfully appeals their Leaving Certificate results after this date will be offered a guaranteed, deferred place instead.
“The university will actively engage with the Department of Education, the State Examinations Commission, the CAO and other higher education institutions to develop options that seek to ensure that the circumstances raised by the High Court case are not repeated,” the statement continued. “However, the university holds its position that it must retain an admissions deadline, which is in the best interests of students.”
Proposed solutions involve a faster appeals process and colleges agreeing to admit upgraded students after a specified period of time.