Increase in people with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds going to college

There has been a 4% increase in people going to college from both categories

Increase in people with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds going to college

The archway into the Trinity Chapel looking out over the Trinity College Square | Image:

The percentage of students from disadvantaged backgrounds or with disabilities attending higher education in Ireland has improved.

That is according to a recent report by the Higher Education Authority (HEA). 

The HEA said that while the system continues to respond strongly to the challenge of the country's needs, they are "acutely concerned" about the potential negative impact of a decline in public funding.

This most recent performance report from the HEA is just one of a number of reports which have been published annually over the past number of years.

They aim to evaluate the sector according to a number of different objectives.

Their latest study was carried out during the 2014/15 academic year.

It found that the share of students from deprived backgrounds rose from 22% to 26% between 2013 and 2015 - while the proportion of students with disabilities increased from 7% to 11%.

In relation to teaching and learning, the study found continued high levels of student satisfaction.

This is despite the fact that the student-staff ratio continues to fall as staff number continue to drop and student numbers continue to rise.

On research, it also notes that while Irish institutions continue to perform well, the level of investment in higher education research and development shows a continuous decline.

Speaking about the recent report, Education Minister Richard Bruton said the results are: "Testament to the quality of our third-level institutions and their staff, who have maintained their high standards of performance and innovation, despite increased student numbers and falling resources."