Costs and funding
Your first step should be to check the website of the institution you are interested in to find out exactly how much you can expect to pay in tuition fees. In the Republic of Ireland, the Graduate Skills Conversion Programme (GSCP) was a joint initiative with the Department of Education and Science and the Higher Education Authority. The aim of the programme is to provide graduates with the opportunity to acquire qualifications for employment in the ICT area. A greatly reduced fee applies to all courses under this programme. Unfortunately the programme as discontinued from 2016 onwards, Alternate upskilling and reskilling opportunities are also available via the Springboard and ICT Skills initiatives. See www.springboardcourses.ie for further information and information on eligibility and entry requirements.
Tax relief is also available on postgraduate tuition fees. Details in relation to this relief are available from the Revenue Commissioners.
There is some variation among the different universities’ fees. Those for research degrees average more than €4,000 per year, while fees for taught degree programmes can range from under €4,000 up to around €10,000 – usually for business courses. The charge for MBA (Masters of Business Administration) courses can be as high as €29,500. Fees in Queen’s University in Belfast are approx £4,400 and £3,890 at the University of Ulster for full-time taught and research degrees, with a payment by individual credit system operating for part-time courses. It is important, particularly with US universities, to consider information about fees alongside the financial aid offered by the institution: it’s likely that you will be applying for funding at the same time as you apply for a place on the course.
Maintenance and accommodation
You will also need to factor in your living costs: while awards cover fees, they are unlikely to support living costs in full. You can often find useful cost of- living tables on university or student union websites. For example, NUI Galway estimates living costs at around €1,240 per month. Accommodation is probably the largest item of expenditure for most students, particularly during these times of rising rents. This can vary from as little as €80 per week sharing a room in rented accommodation to around €150 approximately per week in digs. The other option is to live on campus where rents for an academic year can range from €3,500 to €5,500 but can rise to higher than €7,000 in some institutions. Most institutions provide comprehensive assistance, in terms of information only, regarding costs of living.This information was updated in February 2017