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What did abolishing university fees in Ireland do?

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  • Kevin Denny

Abstract

University tuition fees for undergraduates were abolished in Ireland in 1996. This paper examines the effect of this reform on the socioeconomic gradient (SES) to determine whether the reform was successful in achieving its objective of promoting educational equality. 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 which also explains the gap between the sexes. 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. I also find that certain demographic characteristics have large negative effects on school performance i.e. having a disabled or deceased parent. 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, 2010. "What did abolishing university fees in Ireland do?," Working Papers 201017, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201017
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/2648
    File Function: First version, 2010
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Free university does not improve achievement equality
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-07-19 19:49:00
    2. What did abolishing university fees in Ireland do?
      by Ariel Goldring in Free Market Mojo on 2010-06-23 18:02:27
    3. Irland tog bort avgifter för högre studier
      by Niclas Berggren in Nonicoclolasos on 2010-07-30 07:52:34
    4. Interesting
      by Tim Worstall in Tim Worstall on 2010-07-20 12:19:05

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    Cited by:

    1. Delaney, Liam & Harmon, Colm & Redmond, Cathy, 2011. "Parental education, grade attainment and earnings expectations among university students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1136-1152.
    2. Liam Delaney & Colm Harmon & Cathy Redmond, 2010. "Parental Education, Grade Attainment & Earnings Expectations among University Students," Working Papers 201035, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    3. John Cullinan & Darragh Flannery & Sharon Walsh & Selina Mccoy, 2013. "Distance Effects, Social Class and the Decision to Participate in Higher Education in Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 44(1), pages 19-51.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tuition costs; University; Fees; Socio?economic background; Educational attainment; Education; Higher--Finance--Ireland; College costs--Ireland; Educational equalization--Ireland; Educational attainment--Ireland;

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