84,000 students have applied for college places this year according to well-placed sources and an article by The Irish Times. This is a 9 per cent increase since last year.

79,000 students applied for college places last year according to the Central Application Office (CAO).

There are several possibilities as to why there has been a 5000 increase in student applicants this year. Two popular opinions are that it’s believed to mature students looking to retrain and there is an increased in interest in Irish universities due to Brexit.

Details of where these additional 5000 places will go are still being worked out. Senior sources want them in areas of demand such as health, law, business, science, the environment and journalism.

These issues will be discussed by Ministers at a meeting of the Cabinet committee on education this Thursday.