No Griffith fees for those hosting foreign students


One of the State’s leading private third-level colleges is to offer free tuition to students – in return for providing accommodation and board to an international student.

Under the scheme, Griffith College will waive the standard €5,000 yearly fee for Irish students who host an international student. The scholarship will also be available if the student in question arranges for a relative to provide “suitable living accommodation”.

The scheme is being rolled out amid growing fears among students and their parents about the cost of college. Next September, the student contribution charge will increase to €2,500 for students in State-run third-level colleges; it will increase further to €3,000 by 2015.

Griffith College – based at the former Griffith Barracks on Dublin’s South Circular Road – has more than 7,000 full- and part-time time students. While some 60 per cent of the student population is Irish, Griffith has been more successful than many other third-level colleges in recruiting students from overseas.

Non-EU students are a key source of income for the college, as they pay much higher fees of at least €7,000 per year.The new scheme is being promoted in the college’s main overseas markets, including China, France, Germany, Russia and Brazil.

Griffith College acknowledges the scheme should help it attract more foreign students – but it also highlights the key benefit of free fees for Irish students.

The college runs full-time courses in a range of areas, including business, law accounting and journalism.

Diarmuid Hegarty, president of Griffith College said: “We are conscious that these are difficult economic times for families. The new scheme will provide more opportunities for Irish students to attend the college while offering international students a unique living experience during their time in Ireland.”

Vetting of families

Griffith College says it will vet each Irish family to ensure foreign students have excellent accommodation and food. Each family will also subject to Garda vetting.

It says: “We trust each family to provide good standards. If, for any reason, this is not the case, we have procedures in place which will see the student move to another family or the Griffith College campus” where there is accommodation for over 600 students.

There is no initial limit on the number of places available under the scheme. Everything will hinge on whether each Irish student offering accommodation can be “matched” with a foreign student. The Irish students’ tuition fees will be offset for each year he/she provides room and board.