Cork Institute of Technology and IT Tralee will apply to become Munster’s first technological university within coming weeks.
The university would be the nation’s second technological university. Dublin Institute of Technology, IT Tallaght and IT Blanchardstown merged to create Technological University Dublin last month.
‘I think it’s going to be incredibly positive for the region. We’re looking at, hopefully, a massive student increase which is good,’ commented Joseph Kavanaugh, IT Tralee’s Student Union VP for Education.
Members of the Teachers Union of Ireland recently voted in relation to the merging of the Munster institutions. 80% of members at CIT and 68% of members at IT Tralee were in support of the proposed plans.
The application will be examined by an expert panel. The panel will visit both colleges and talk to their shareholders before expected approval in June 2019.
IT Tralee is currently undergoing financial challenges due to overstaffing, a decline of full-time students and significant cash flow difficulties. It is estimated that the facility will reach a deficit of €4 million in the coming years.
The merging of both institutes means it is likely that these deficits will be absorbed by CIT, which is a cause for concern at the institution.
CIT is currently facing problems on the opposite side of the spectrum due to shortages of beds for students,a manifestation of the country’s housing crisis. They expect to add an extra 3,000 students to its existing 12,000 full and part-time students within the next decade.
Both institutions have taken these issues into consideration when deciding to go ahead with the merger. ‘The financial difficulties haven’t had any negative impact so far and we don’t expect them to in the future’, said Kavanaugh.
Merging both institutions would allow for the creation of a large university with great scale, strength and expertise.
If the application is accepted in June, university status will come into effect immediately with the registration of new students to begin in September of this year.