Trinity College Dublin has launched an initiative to triple the number of students from Northern Ireland, aiming for them to make up eight per cent of the overall student body.
The university said its initiative was in response to a recent decline in numbers from Northern Ireland, which it said was in part caused by the fact that only one in eight students from the Province take its required four A-Levels.
It has now launched a feasibility study with the aim of ensuring that eight per cent of the student body comes from Northern Ireland.
Provost of Trinity, Dr Patrick Prendergast, said: “Unfortunately in the last few years our numbers from Northern Ireland have been in decline, and this has been a source of deep regret to our alumni, our students, our staff, and to me personally.
“With this feasibility study Trinity has acted to restore and re-establish a relationship that has done so much to build close links on this island between people from all backgrounds and traditions.”
During the past year Trinity has visited schools and careers fairs across Northern Ireland to reconnect with schools, parents, teachers and alumni.
For admission in September 2015, it will admit a number of students from Northern Ireland looking purely at the best three A-Levels of the applicant. All courses are included except medicine, due to special requirements.
The Republic’s Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, said he was “delighted to see Trinity finding innovative ways to attract students from Northern Ireland to study here at third level”, while Northern Ireland Education Minister John O’Dowd said he was “pleased that the necessity for applicants from the north to have four A-Levels is being relaxed”.
The move was also welcomed by Stormont Minister for Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry.