MEI offers 70% discount for displaced students

19 June, 2014

Language school association Marketing English in Ireland (MEI) has confirmed an offer to provide English language tuition at a heavily discounted rate for international students displaced by recent college closures in the country.

The homepage of the new task force website, established to assist international student displaced by college closures in Ireland

Students that were on English language programmes at the five colleges that have closed this year (Kavanagh College, Eden College, Irish Business School Dublin, Millennium College and Allied Irish College) will be offered a place at an MEI member school for the remainder of their course at €60 (US$82) per week, a discount of around 70 per cent.

Over 2,000 students are thought to have been registered at the colleges which have closed, none of which were MEI members. However, it is not yet clear how many will be looking for alternative provision.

The course offer covers 15 hours per week tuition in afternoon classes in groups of 15 students. After the weeks remaining on their original course have been completed, students will have the option of remaining at the MEI school at standard cost.

In order to avail of the offer, students will need to contact MEI directly with details of their course and previous provider and also conduct an online level placement test. Students will then be asked to complete an application form and be assigned to an MEI college.

A special website has been launched this week by the multi-body task force that was established to deal with the college closure problem. The site provides guidance for students and warns that only MEI colleges are enfranchised to accept English language students affected by the recent closures.

Ireland’s Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, said, “We established the task force in order to assist students who have been left without courses as a result of the private college closures and the website is a very important part of that work.”

He added, “I would like particularly to acknowledge the constructive role played by high –quality private sector institutions on the Task Force. This has allowed us to put in place a very reasonable option for affected English Language students who wish to continue their studies in Ireland.”

International students that were on non-English language courses are advised to contact the awarding body of their course, due to the greater complexity in determining qualifications and appropriate study levels.

The task force home page states, “This website has been set up by the task force to provide a central reference point for all affected students and others requiring information on the college closures. Agents seeking information on alternative study options for displaced students should consult the ‘Student Options’ page.” 

There is no immediate immigration threat to the non-EU students affected, who are considered by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Services (INIS) to be on academic holiday until 1 September. Students are permitted to work up to 40 hours per week during this period.

The task force website also provides information on what to do in the event of a college closure, indicating that more closures may be expected in the coming months. The website advises students to ask the college about refunds in the event of a closure, and also to speak to their agents. The Q&A section also details what information and documents future displaced students should gather.

David O’Grady, CEO of MEI, told Study Travel Magazine the association welcomed moves to clean up the sector and hoped the regulations currently being discussed by the task force would benefit Ireland and protect the reputation of the sector.

He added, “I have been very impressed with the level of pastoral care that has been shown to the displaced students by the authorities.”

Most of the colleges that closed initially had recognition by INIS withdrawn, meaning they were no longer able to recruit non-EU students, which effectively led to their closures. It is anticipated that INIS will be withdrawing recognition from more schools.

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