Where undergraduate students do not qualify for free fees they are required to pay fees to their higher education institution at either an ‘EU rate’ or a higher ‘Non-EU rate’.
As autonomous institutions, the determination of the fee rate applicable for individual students is a matter for the higher education institutions.
Due to a particular concern regarding people who have had, for occupational or economic reasons, to move abroad, requiring them to take their children out of the Irish education system in the process, in March 2014 the Department requested that the Higher Education Authority (HEA) advise the higher education sector that full-time undergraduate students who:
hold EU/EEA/Swiss nationality but do not meet the residency clause of the Free Fees Initiative; and
have completed five academic years of study (at either primary or post-primary level) in an EU/EEA/Swiss State; and
commence their first undergraduate course of study in an approved institution here from the following academic year onwards,
should be charged the EU rate of fee rather than the higher non-EU rate by their higher education institution.
This approach was implemented for new students from the commencement of the 2014/15 academic year and it is a matter for the institutions to apply this policy to such students. Higher education institutions are autonomous bodies and, are therefore responsible for the determination of the level of fees payable by students who are not eligible for free fees under my Department’s Free Fees Scheme.
The Department is not aware of any cases where any particular higher education institution has not agreed to the Department's request.
The final decision on this issue is a matter for the individual higher education institution.