higher education faces some tough questions

Opinion: higher education had a plethora of challenges before the arrival of Covid-19, but the situation is even harder now

While the reopening of schools has been the focus of attention recently in Ireland, higher education is also under major pressure at the start of a new academic year. As a fresh intake of students embarks on a new journey, third level institutions here and abroad are enduring a bumpy ride in the face of four major challenges: funding shortages; expectations; rising pressures and the impact of Covid-19.

Funding shortages – where’s the money?

The role of the State in funding higher education varies greatly. A 2017 European Commission report found that 11 of 42 systems levied no fees at all for first time undergraduates, with some countries also offering grants and other supports. At the opposite extreme, notably in the United States, Australia and England, the state has minimised

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