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The Union of Students in Ireland has responded to University College Dublin’s warning that more fee-paying foreign students will be sought to meet shortfalls in college funding.
“USI has warned for many years that underfunding of higher education in Ireland would result in colleges seeking to exploit students from outside the EU as a cash crop.  We deplore that we’ve come to this situation, and so whilst we despair at the content, we welcome the candour of Professor Deeks’ statement, who has finally said out loud what we’ve warned for years.
We’ve been clear that underinvestment would lead to a reduction in places available to students from inside the EU, including Ireland, EU students are shifted to make more room for the more lucrative students from overseas. Colleges are more than ever in the business of filling classrooms, and the rules allow non-EU students to be shaken down for much more money than EU students.
Students from overseas pay enormous fees to study in Ireland, and Brexit may well make Ireland even more attractive. – USI has always welcomed students from across the world, and entirely understands the attractiveness of Ireland as a place to study.  We are concerned by the prospect of students from overseas being exploited to alleviate the underinvestment in Ireland.
As supporters of the local economy in this country, we worry that we are in danger of creating a college system which can’t afford to cater for the educational needs of Irish students, but instead effectively exports degrees.
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