Plan for 4,600 extra college places to be discussed by Cabinet on Tuesday

Approval for €24 million to fund extra places in medicine, law and other disciplines to be discussed

The plan would see extra places created at third level for students to study medicine, pharmacy, law and other courses. Photograph: Getty Images

The plan would see extra places created at third level for students to study medicine, pharmacy, law and other courses. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Extra capacity at third level for students to study medicine, pharmacy and law are among proposals to be brought to Cabinet on Tuesday. The proposal is for just over 4,600 additional college places to be established.

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris is expected to seek Government approval for €24 million to fund the extra places including 440 in health sciences like nursing, pharmacy and medicine and 450 in science subjects.

There are to be 120 extra places in education-related courses and 102 in law.

There will also be an increase in the number of places in media studies, veterinary, and business.

The Irish Times last week reported how the points needed for some high-demand courses such as medicine and pharmacy are to rise as students who sat the written Leaving Cert last November take up places now offered to them.

Another issue in these courses is the doubling of applications from citizens in other EU states, who no longer want to study in the United Kingdom.

It is understood the plan to add an extra 4,620 college places is in part due to the significant increase in students from across the EU as well as a rise in the number or mature students.

Mr Harris is expected to update Government on ongoing work with the Department of Health on workforce planning for the health service and how the numbers studying in the healthcare area can continue to be increased.

The Cabinet is also set to be briefed on an expansion in further education and apprenticeship options.