IUA Welcomes HEA’s new report on the Spatial and Socio-Economic Profile of HEIs in Ireland

The Irish Universities Association (IUA) welcomes HEA’s new report on the Spatial and Socio-Economic Profile of Higher Education Institutions in Ireland. The IUA has been using the same type of geocoded data as an indicator of socioeconomic background for the HEAR scheme for 10 years and has been advocating for others to use it for similar purposes. This report helps universities to ensure that they can identify and address the needs of the most underrepresented groups in Higher Education.

While the universities have been very proactive in encouraging and supporting the progression into and through Higher Education, this report is in its first year and captures only 2017/18 data as a baseline, so it will be a number of years before it illustrates this trend.

In looking at the 405-600 Leaving Certificate points range which accounts for the vast majority of required points for admission to University courses, this report further highlights the strong and direct correlation between the points achieved at Leaving Certificate and socioeconomic background. For example, this HEA data illustrates that of the students achieving Leaving Certificate points in the 405-600 range, 27% of those are from affluent backgrounds compared to 4.5% from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Despite Universities facing greater challenges in ensuring socioeconomically diverse cohorts, this report shows that 7% of students entering into the 6 IUA Universities polled are from the most disadvantaged backgrounds accounting for more than 3,000 new entrants.

Additional Insights:

It is also important to delve a little deeper into the numbers behind the following point made in the HEA press release

  • UCC, UCD (all at 5%) have the lowest proportion from disadvantaged backgrounds. Letterkenny Institute of Technology has the highest proportion of disadvantaged students (24%).

What these percentages mean in actual student numbers is illustrated  in the table below.  You’ll see that 5% of students in UCD (1,325) is actually more than 24% of students in LYIT (1,022).

The main drawback of this report is that the data, while useful, does not compare like with like. The school and institutional commitment, investment and effort required to ensure 1000 learners from the most disadvantaged 10% of Irish society get 300 points and more to get into high demand university courses should not be underestimated.

UCD 5% UCC 5% LYIT 24%
Full time enrolments 22,804 17,212 3,043
Part time enrolments 3,704 2,812 1,214
total 26,508 1,325 students 20,024 1,001 students 4,257 1,022 students
Lowest points Courses 2019 303 (L8 Forestry) 300 (L8 Arts) All qualified applicants (L6-7 Culinary Arts, Photography) Only 4 of LYIT’s programmes required above 300 points

Data taken from https://hea.ie/statistics-archive/ academic year 2017/18
2019 Points data taken from each university’s website.

Download the full report from the HEA Website

For more information contact: Lia O’Sullivan, Head of Communications, IUA  lia.osullivan@iua.ie  O1 6764948