600+ points for course as property crisis prompts many to look outside city
The number of Leaving Cert points required to study University College Dublin's prestigious economics and finance degree has hit 601.
It is the first time a college course has required more than 600 points.
The move was prompted by the large number of applicants with at least 600 points competing for the 50 CAO places on the course.
Points demanded by colleges outside Dublin have also increased as the worsening accommodation crisis in the capital has forced students to assess college choices.
The Union of Students in Ireland president Lorna Fitzpatrick said people who are worried by the cost of accommodation in Dublin have looked to study elsewhere.
"We believe that people should study the courses that are best for them, to allow them to take the path that they wish to choose in life," she said.
"If that's a college course that's very close to them, or that's in a regional college, that's perfectly fine.
"Our issue is where students are being forced to take courses in institutions and colleges that may be closer to them because of the accommodation crisis."
Overall, the CAO made 74,567 offers to 51,513 applicants, up from 50,746 last year.
Among them were 43,851 Level 8 offers - up from 42,301 last year - reflecting the strong demand from school leavers for entry to Level 8 (honours degree) courses. These courses are offered in both universities and institutes of technology.
However, there was a drop in offers for Level 7/6 courses - 30,806, down from 31,351 in 2018.
This reflected the decline in applications, which is causing concern to the institutes of technology.
While more Leaving Cert students are taking higher level papers, there was no significant change in the overall breakdown of CAO points.
For instance, 13.3pc of candidates achieved 500 points or more, compared with 13.2pc last year.
The number of courses requiring a minimum 500 points rose slightly from 114 to 120.
Among the Stem (science, technology, engineering, maths) courses, where points have increased, were Trinity College Dublin's biological and biomedical sciences, up 11 to 520, while mathematics was up 32 to 566.
At University College Dublin (UCD), engineering is up one to 511 and will take in up to 265 students as the demand for places is strong. Points for its computer science course are up 10 to 488.
The university has also increased places for science, where points rose by one to 521.
At Maynooth University, the BSc in biological and biomedical sciences climbed from 445 to 462.
In contrast, UCD's business and law course dropped 10 points. Points for commerce were stable, but it is increasing places to 220.
Similarly, points for its three-year arts degree have fallen from 366 to 336, although the number of places has increased by 50 to 400.
Dublin City University's Institute of Education has opened an additional 39 places.
Its new post-primary teacher education programme (Gaeilge with French, German or Spanish), aimed at addressing the shortage of language teachers at post-primary level, proved popular with almost 45 places offered and entry points at 410.
Points for the BEd in early childhood education rose by 10 to 398, while Maynooth's BSc science with education went from 434 points to 451.
Meanwhile, at DCU's Business School, programmes that include opportunities for students to study abroad in partner universities remained popular with global business (Transatlantic) and global business (Canada) achieving DCU's highest points at 578 and 566, respectively. Global business (Spanish) rose to 501.
It was a busy day at the National Parents Council Post Primary (NPCpp).
Within the first three hours of the release of the CAO offers, 200 calls were made to its helpline.