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The effect of abolishing university tuition costs: evidence from Ireland

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  • Kevin Denny

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College Dublin)

Abstract

University tuition fees for undergraduates were abolished in Ireland in 1996. This paper examines the effect of this reform on the socio-economic gradient to determine whether the reform was successful in achieving its objective of promoting educational equality that is improving the chances of low socio-economic status (SES) students progressing to university. It finds that the reform clearly did not have that effect. It is also shown that the university/SES gradient can be explained by differential performance at second level. Students from white collar backgrounds do significantly better in their final second level exams than the children of blue-collar workers. The results are very similar to recent findings for the UK. The results show that the effect of SES on school performance is generally stronger for those at the lower end of the conditional distribution of academic attainment.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Denny, 2011. "The effect of abolishing university tuition costs: evidence from Ireland," IFS Working Papers W11/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:11/05
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    File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp1105.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Olive Sweetman, 2002. "College Attendance, Tutition and Family Income," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n1181002, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
    8. Rita Asplund & Oussama Ben Adbelkarim & Ali Skalli, 2008. "An equity perspective on access to, enrolment in and finance of tertiary education," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(3), pages 261-274.
    9. Denny, Kevin & Doyle, Orla & McMullin, Patricia & O'Sullivan, Vincent, 2014. "Money, mentoring and making friends: The impact of a multidimensional access program on student performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 167-182.
    10. Michael B. Coelli, 2009. "Tuition fees and equality of university enrolment," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(3), pages 1072-1099, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Cullinan & Kevin Denny & Darragh Flannery, 2018. "A Distributional Analysis of Upper Secondary School Performance," Working Papers 201808, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    2. Denny, Kevin & Doyle, Orla & McMullin, Patricia & O'Sullivan, Vincent, 2014. "Money, mentoring and making friends: The impact of a multidimensional access program on student performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 167-182.
    3. Flannery, Darragh & O’Donoghue, Cathal, 2013. "The demand for higher education: A static structural approach accounting for individual heterogeneity and nesting patterns," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 243-257.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid

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