This year’s Leaving Certificate students will not miss out on CAO offers despite the delay in the date for results, Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris has said.
He told RTE news that the CAO and universities have all agreed to accommodate the later timeline.
It follows the announcement yesterday that results would not be issued until September 3rd.
Universities will have to reserve a proportion of on campus accommodation for first year students, he added, as they had done last year.
“We will work with Leaving Cert students to ensure they have a good college experience,” the Minister said.
Mr Harris said discussions had already been held with UCAS (the UK equivalent of the CAO) to change their deadline, and he had also held talks with his European colleagues about Irish students applying to European universities.
He pointed out there had been 84,500 applications to the CAO this year, which was the highest ever, but only 300 of the applicants were Leaving Cert students.
The remainder were mature students and what he described as the “Brexit-Covid effect” which included 5,000 European students applying to attend university in the State.
There would be 4,500 new college places, he said, including 184 additional nursing places, noting there had been a big increase in interest in journalism and media courses along with science.
“We are trying to match supply to demand.”
Mr Harris said every year the number of applicants to the CAO increased and that not all would get their first choice.
There was more to higher education than colleges, as PLC courses and apprenticeships also offered excellent pathways, he said.
Mr Harris reiterated plans to get people back on campuses, anticipating staff will have been “overwhelmingly” vaccinated by September.
In two weeks there will be an announcement regarding details for the return to campus, he added, with a return of lectures, tutorials, clubs and societies all on the card,
Large scale lectures would be a challenge, he said, but added he would like to see opportunities for blended learning such as recorded lectures which had to be an advantage.