National College of Ireland on the hunt for second Dublin campus

Revenues rise 9.5% as National College of Ireland posts strong financial results

The National College of Ireland in the IFSC in Dublin.

The National College of Ireland in the IFSC in Dublin.

 

The National College Of Ireland (NCI) third-level institute says it is on the lookout for a second campus in Dublin city in addition to its current base in the IFSC.

The industry-focused college also spent €2.7 million last year to buy a gym and creche adjacent to its IFSC campus to help alleviate space constraints. In a directors’ report accompanying recently filed accounts for the year to the end of last June, it said the limitation of its docklands base was its “biggest impediment”.

The accounts show that the college, which has a total student population of 5,900, appears to be in a strong financial position. Its revenues in the year were about €31 million, up 9.5 per cent. It banked a €1.6 million surplus over the year.

The college had €21.4 million of reserves on its balance sheet at the end of last June, and a cash pile of some €15.5 million. NCI, which employs 243 staff and a further 147 associate lecturers, was carrying a pension deficit of €7 million.

“NCI had a positive financial year 2018-19,” the college’s president Gina Quin, a former chief executive of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, told The Irish Times.

“This positions us well to cope with the significant investment required to meet the challenges posed by Covid-19. We will continue to be responsive to the needs of learners and to the skills requirements of the economy.”

International students

In notes attached to the accounts, the NCI board said its industry-focused technology and web industry courses were especially popular with international students – the college is directly across the river from the so-called Silicon Docks hub that is home to some of the world’s biggest multinationals.

It also attributed its strong performance last year to its ability to recruit fee-paying students outside of the normal education year timeline. It said it managed to recruit a large number of students in January, for example.

The directors were critical of an “arbitrary cap” on full-time undergraduate fees that are refunded to it by the State under the free fees initiative.

The cap was increased last year from 925 students to 1,000, but NCI complained that it still prevented it from expanding the range of undergraduate courses on offer, which it claims puts it at a disadvantage to other colleges.

The board, which until recent years was chaired by businessman Denis O’Brien, includes former senior Ibec executive Brendan McGinty and Barbara Cotter, a former A&L Goodbody partner who chairs the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland.