CAO records drop in college applications

Applications are at their lowest in at least five years

The Central Applications Office has reported a drop in the number of people applying to go to college next year.

Almost 73,000 students have applied for third level courses – although the total is nearly 3,500 below the figures at this time last year.

The normal application deadline passed at 5:15pm this evening.

By close of business, the CAO had received 72,751 applications – a drop of over 4.5% on last year.

It marks the lowest number of applicants in at least five years.

However, anyone who missed the deadline can still apply using the late application facility - which opens on March 5th and closes on May 1st.

CAO communications officer Eileen Keleghan said the late application facility can be used by most applicants, however she warned that restrictions do apply.

Late applications cost €60 for online applicants and €90 for paper applicants.