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Private colleges can be a good choice for many students

Posted by Francis O' Toole on January 6, 2016

The colleges also offer courses through direct entry, which does not involve a CAO application.1
The colleges also offer courses through direct entry, which does not involve a CAO application.

There are a number of private colleges on the CAO, with strong reputations. They tend to concentrate on areas related to business and humanities but some have built niche areas in discipline such as psychology, fashion, media and computers.

These courses are accredited by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), which now has responsibility for making awards in further and higher education and training, and are available from Level 6 (higher certificate) to level 8 (honours degree).

The colleges also offer courses through direct entry, which does not involve a CAO application.

Fees tend to lie in the region of €5,000 and have been fairly stable in recent years. There are, however courses available for much less. College also have grants and bursaries available.

Increases in the student contribution charge that applies in publicly-funded colleges does influence fees at private colleges.

Fees paid to private colleges are tax deductible at a rate of 20pc, while no tax can be claimed back on the student contribution charge. Some of these courses and colleges may have been considered expensive in the past but, with the increase in the student contribution to €3,000, they are a more realistic option for many. More and more students are considering these courses for high ranking CAO choices as well as low points alternatives to the university and institute of technology (IT) sector.

Taking all of the above into account the cost difference in attending a publicly-funded college and a private college is smaller than ever before. For many families it may prove more cost effective to attend a private college locally, than to support a student in moving away to attend a university or an IT.

The majority of these colleges are located in Dublin and in other city centre locations. They are often smaller than the universities and ITs, which many students find attractive, but still provide clubs and societies and the social activities one would expect from a third level institution.

Many of these colleges offer both full time and part time modes of study.

Two of the largest private institutions in the country are Dublin Business School and Griffith College (which has campuses in Dublin, Galway, and Limerick.)

Dublin Business School offers business courses, psychology, law, and liberal arts. Griffith College courses in law, computers, interior and fashion design and media.

A more recent addition to the CAO list includes St Nicholas Montessori College, which offers courses in both Dublin and Cork and has been providing qualifications in Montessori for many years.

This year, it will accept applications to its Level 7 (ordinary degree) in Montessori Education through the CAO for the first time. This degree has an option of an add-on year for Level 8. St Nicholas will continue to offer a number of other courses through direct entry.

Other colleges accepting applications through the CAO this year include the American College Dublin, Grafton College of Management Science, College of Computer Training, IBAT College, ICD Business school, Portobello Institute, and the Irish College of Humanities and Applied science.

There are many other colleges and you can find more information using qualifax.ie and limiting the search to private colleges.

Also contact the institution, which will be more than happy to assist.

Irish Independent

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