HEA report separate from Waterford-Carlow ITs bid
It should be made it crystal clear that proposals by the Higher Education Authority to merge third-level colleges will have no bearing whatsoever on Waterford’s application for technological university status.
The Irish Independent and Irish Times both reported on the HEA’s plans to reduce the number of third-level colleges funded by the State from 39 (in which 170,000 students are currently enrolled) to 24.
The objective is to eliminate waste, increase efficiencies, and ultimately save money – not surprising given that identical courses are being offered by colleges in close proximity to each other at present.
However, it's important to stress that this new amalgamation blueprint is entirely separate from the joint application being made by Waterford and Carlow Institutes of Technology for a technological university of the south-east.
Reacting to the press reports, the Chief Executive of the HEA, Tom Boland, assured me that the application submitted for technological university status for this region is unaffected by these proposals. (He also said later on Wednesday that there will be no institutes closed, just reconfigured.)
Waterford is regarded as one of the best ITs in the country, with massive infrastructural development having taken place at the Cork Road site, and also the West Campus at Carriganore, over the past decade. This should ensure it’s to the fore in a streamlined third-level sector.