29/05/2012

Fifth Of NI Students Getting Irish Passports

One in five Northern Irish students are applying for Irish passports to study in Dundee for free, a local newspaper there reported.

The Courier said that 20% of NI students intending to go to the city, which has a high Northern Irish student population, are exploiting what a reporter called a "bizarre loophole".

The newspaper claimed it had seen figures which "show hundreds of Northern Irish students applying to Dundee University this year are claiming to be eligible for free tuition as they hold an Irish passport"

Under EU anti-discrimination rules, students with Irish passports can avoid fees in Scotland at universities were nationality is tested on the applicant's passport, not residence.

It would amount to a £9,000 saving per year for students who take advantage of it.

But Scottish Conservatives said the issue "has to be cleared up urgently".

Liz Smith MSP called on the Scottish National Party government to take action, saying the loophole would lead to loss of "significant revenue".

Students have now been advised to get written confirmation of the fee structure at their chosen university.

(NE)

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