Jan 26, 2020

Fee-Paying Students Are Three Times More Likely to Attend Top Universities

Seven in 10 private school students attend university compared to 51 per cent of public school students.

Ella ConnollyAssistant News Editor

Students from fee-paying schools are three times more likely to study at Ireland’s top universities, according to data reported by the Sunday Independent today.

The data, drawn from feeder schools to third-level institutions, showed that less than 10 per cent of pupils sitting the Leaving Cert each year attend private schools, yet 30 per cent of these students make up the incoming student populations in Trinity and University College Dublin in 2019.

Some 51 percent of students from non-fee paying schools will go on to attend university, significantly lower than the 70 percent of fee-paying students.


Private school student matriculation is also very high for Ireland’s top art colleges. Some 23 per cent of students who attend Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art and Design come from private schools as do one in five of students who study at the National College of Art and Design.

In 2019, other colleges, where the percentage of students who came from the fee-paying sector was above 9 percent, included the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast, University College Cork (UCC) and Technological University Dublin.

The data also showed that students are less likely to travel to a different county to attend college. Only 10 per cent of students from Dublin left the county for college, with 72 per cent of all students from Galways attending either NUI Galway or GMIT and 78 per cent of students from Cork attending either UCC or Cork Institute of Technology.

A survey conducted by the Irish Times in December showed that students from fee-paying schools still dominate higher education’s most sought-after courses, making up half of the top 25 schools in terms of the number of students that progress to college or university.

The survey found that while the top schools send 100 per cent of their pupils on average to higher education, the average figure in Deis, or disadvantaged, schools is just 57 per cent. In one Dublin school, just 15 per cent of students progress to college.

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