The Irish Independent reported on Saturday that a majority of students are choosing a university or college in their vicinity. University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin all have well over 60 per cent of their students coming from their own city or county or those immediately adjacent; they are, perhaps oddly, Ireland’s most regional universities. The universities with a slightly more balanced ‘national’ student population are NUI Maynooth, NUI Galway and my own DCU.
I’m not sure what, if anything, this tells us about the institutions in question; but overall it tells us that there is a trend for students to seek out a third level institution near them, in many cases probably so that they can live at home while doing their studies. I don’t have reliable statistics to hand, but my impression certainly was when I was a student that my fellow students’ family homes were more evenly distributed around the country.
Then again, maybe this has nothing to do with the recession or indeed any economic trends, but is more the result of university intakes being more inclusive than in the past, with a smaller percentage coming from the higher income groups who would have a tradition (and the means) of living away from home while studying. It is however worth observing that a possible consequence may be that university campus life may be affected, as greater numbers of students leave at 5 pm or thereabouts to get home, with ‘home’ not necessarily being in the immediate neighbourhood of the college.
Developments such as this, perhaps even more than education policy or pedagogical changes, have the potential to alter the nature of the university experience. It is one more element that should make us review whether our institutions appropriately address student needs and expectations.Explore posts in the same categories: higher education, society, students, university