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Ukrainian students to be given EU status in Ireland

Image: Bartosz Brzezinski [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Government and universities are pledging support by offering reduced higher education fees

Ukrainian students coming into Ireland will be given European fee status instead of having to pay international fees, higher education minister Simon Harris has revealed.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Harris also said Ukrainian students would have access to student grants and support, including English language training for those who needed it. He said the Irish government would work with universities to ensure Irish students in Ukraine and Ukrainian students coming to Ireland would be able to continue their studies.

A “personalised assessment” will be put in in place to help incoming Ukrainians find work that matches their skills and qualifications, Harris said.

‘Russia’s war is illegal, immoral and unjustified’

Earlier this month, the Irish government asked all higher education institutions to ensure appropriate support is available to Ukrainian and Russian students in Ireland. On 1 March, following a meeting with the EU research commissioner Mariya Gabriel, Harris said it was essential that students’ access to education is maintained, and that Ireland was “ready to support any actions proposed by the Commission to make sure that remains the case”.

The Irish government will support Russian and Ukrainian students studying in Ireland and the EU, as well as Irish students studying at higher education institutions in Russia and Ukraine, said Harris. 

“We are united in the EU’s stance that Russia’s war is illegal, immoral and unjustified,” he said, adding that the government is also conscious that the actions of the Russian state “are no reflection on its people”.

University support

Irish universities have pledged their support and solidarity with the people of Ukraine and strongly condemned Russia’s invasion. Many have issued statements of support for Ukraine and for all the staff and students affected by the unfolding crisis, and some have met with staff.

In Trinity College Dublin, a team led by Emma Stokes, vice-president for global engagement, met with students affected by the conflict. The NUI Galway said it is creating scholarships for Ukrainian refugees and the University of Limerick is collecting medical goods and essential items for hospitals in Ukraine as part of the Help for Ukraine campaign. 

Many universities, including Trinity College Dublin and NUI Galway, also lit up their buildings with the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

Student sanctuary

In a statement, the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) called on Irish universities and colleges to offer sanctuary to students, researchers and lecturers from Ukraine. 

The federation proposed that researchers and academics could be offered work in their areas of specialisation, initially for one year. It also suggested that students could be offered the opportunity to continue their studies in Ireland “until such time as the situation in Ukraine returns to some acceptable level of safety and stability”. 

IFUT also called on Irish higher education institutions to make research facilities and libraries available on a temporary basis to Ukrainian researchers.