29 July, 2020 - Minister Foley welcomes positive response of Minister van Engelshoven to registration of Irish students to Higher Education Institutions in the Netherlands

Irish students receiving Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades results will be able to register to attend higher education in the Netherlands this year


Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has welcomed an agreement reached with Dutch higher education institutions that will allow Leaving Certificate students receiving their Calculated Grades results on 7 September to register to enter higher education in the Netherlands for the 2020/21 academic year.

The university registration date in the Netherlands is 31 August 2020 but Irish students will be able to register after the 7 September date of release of Calculated Grades results. This has been agreed in the exceptional circumstances arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in postponement of the Leaving Certificate examinations.

The agreement was reached following diplomatic contacts at ministerial and official level between Ireland and the Netherlands.

While students may miss the orientation period and/or the first classes in college, this will not hinder them in their further studies in the Netherlands.

Minister Foley said: “I am delighted to be able to confirm to Irish students that the Dutch University Association (VSNU) and the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (VH) are advising their members to accommodate Irish students who have applied and who meet the requirements to enter higher education in the Netherlands in 2020.

“Every year approximately 500 Irish students travel to higher education institutions in the Netherlands and I am very aware how important it is that these students have certainty about their future.

“I am very glad that we have agreed this solution that will enable Irish students to register in their chosen universities in the Netherlands this year. I acknowledge that some students may be somewhat disappointed to miss the orientation period and/or the first classes in college, but am confident that students who have made this decision to travel abroad for university will settle well.

“The Department had previously written to the Dutch authorities to keep them informed of the Calculated Grades situation. After the date for Calculated Grades results was confirmed, I wrote to my colleague Ingrid Van Engelshoven, the Dutch Minister for Education and Science, requesting flexibility in terms of processing Irish student registrations for higher education in the Netherlands.

“Officials from my Department, along with their colleagues in the Irish Embassy in The Hague, were also in touch with the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science to seek clarifications on this.

“I want to thank Minister Van Engelshoven and her officials, the VSNU and VH representatives, along with our Embassy staff in the Hague for their quick intervention on this matter. This is good news for the families and students who are heading to the Netherlands. I advise students to contact the university they have applied to as quickly as possible.

“I have also written to all EU Ministers with responsibility for higher education seeking similar flexibility for Irish students proposing to register in higher education institutions in their countries. The leaders of the European Union have recently demonstrated their collective financial responsibility. Minister Van Engelshoven’s intervention illustrates again the importance of cooperation on student mobility to European solidarity and cultural enrichment.

“Several thousand Irish students study at universities outside of Ireland every year. The vast majority of these will study in UK colleges and universities, and we have engaged with the UK’s UCAS system to ensure that they will be accommodated.”




Notes for Editors

  • The Netherlands is the most popular destination after the UK for Irish students pursuing higher education outside of Ireland, with about 500 Irish students annually registering to attend higher education in that country;
  • An agreement has already been reached with UCAS, the UK’s system for entry to higher education, that will enable students receiving their Calculated Grades results to register to attend higher education in the UK in time for the 2020/21 academic year.
  • Some students had expressed concern that the Calculated Grades results issue date of 7 September would compromise acceptance of conditional offers from higher education institutions in the Netherlands, due to a published registration deadline of 31 August 2020;
  • While it is possible that students may miss some orientation sessions/ first classes, Irish students will be able to confirm their registration with their higher education institutions in the Netherlands for the 2020/ 2021 academic year;
  • The Minister will use all possible means, including the Irish Embassy network to continue to press for similar flexibility from other European countries; acceptance deadline 
  • Higher education admission procedures are a matter for each individual institution. In the first instance, students should contact the admissions office in the institution they wish to attend and explain the change in the timetable for results in Ireland, arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. 
  • Further information on the Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades process is available at gov.ie/Leaving Certificate