Trinity College Dublin is planning to reduce entry requirements for non-EU International students next year by 10% in a plan to ease the financial strain on the university caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University Times reported on June 6th that there will be a reduction in entry requirements for Non-EU students entering Trinity College next year. This is due to the widespread cancellation of second-level exams but also part of a strategy to minimise the financial loss caused by the coronavirus. Ordinarily, international students are required to achieve 90% of the CAO points required for their course. However, this is set to drop to only 80%. For example, to enter a 500 point course a non-EU student would need to obtain grades that equate to 450 points, now their predictive grades only need to amount to 400 points. 

The University Times obtained minutes from a meeting of the University Council including Trinity’s Vice-President for Global Affairs Juliette Hussey. In the meeting, Hussey suggested reducing entry requirements in countries where “predictive grades have strong predictive validity”. In countries where this doesn’t apply, cases will be looked at individually. However, she adds that there will be “extensive engagement” with all students receiving offers.

In an interview with the University Times, Hussey stressed that this new measurement will not result in a lowering of academic standards in the university as she believes that predictive grades will be a good reflection of the student’s ability and that this new measure isn’t too dissimilar to their regular entry policy. 

Drawing more international students to Trinity will be a crucial part of maintaining financial security, as the government so far have not indicated that they will offer to help universities with their financial loss surrounding the coronavirus. 

It has also been reported by The University Times that Trinity risks running out of cash by September 2021 and that the college hopes to cut back €30 million of expenditure through spending reductions such as instituting a recruitment freeze.

Similarly, UCD risks losing up to €100 million due to pandemic restrictions by the end of this year. This poses a serious problem for the university as it has been heavily reliant on the income generated from non-EU students for the past decade. Per The Irish Times, non-EU undergraduate students generally pay between €10,000 and €55,000 for tuition alone, while postgraduates tend to pay between €10,000 and €35,000. The Irish Times reported that the number of international students is likely to fall by 80 per cent in the next academic year. As a result, there are likely to be cuts to services and support on-campus and Schools in UCD have been instructed to cut expenditure.

The College Tribune asked a UCD spokesperson whether the college would implement a similar policy to Trinity College regarding admissions. They said there are no plans to change the admission requirements for non-Irish students. 

In an interview with the College Tribune in April, UCD President Andrew Deeks said that the university is “taking mitigating actions to defer expenditure where possible” and said that there will be no further costs imposed on students other than one’s already communicated. 


Emma Hanrahan- Reporter