CAD points for entry into most college courses are expected to increase significantly this year despite frenzied efforts by the government to ease the upward pressure by creating thousands of additional postgraduate places.
Scoring inflation in this year’s Leaving Cert results will see a record number of courses requiring more than 600 points.
Academic sources have said the additional demands for high demand courses are expected to result in increases of 20 to 30 entry points, with peaks of up to 50 or 60 points in extreme cases.
Some 51,000 students are expected to receive academic offers when they are posted online at 2 p.m. Friday. This represents an increase of around 4,000 from last year and represents one of the largest entries on record in higher education in the state.
Sources indicate that there has been a 7 percent increase in CAD points for courses at all levels. This is higher than expected given that grade inflation, on average, was 4.4% for students under the new grade calculation process introduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It comes despite the addition of nearly 5,000 additional places at universities which Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said will be for high demand courses in medicine, nursing, post-primary education and in science.
The points for many of these courses would have climbed higher without the creation of additional places.
About 78 percent of college applicants would have received an offer of one of their top three choices this year in the honors bachelor’s or level eight courses. This percentage exceeds 90 percent among students with a regular degree or higher, known as level six or level seven.
The increase in CAD points in many courses will be a bitter disappointment for the thousands of people who have taken Leaving Cert in previous years. These delayed applicants fear that their results have been devalued due to the inflation of marks this year and that they are therefore running out of university places.
The general trend of increasing demand this year is for courses that offer clear career paths such as courses in health, business, and the environment. The demand for broader courses such as the arts and humanities, in many cases, has remained stable or has declined.
Trinity College Dublin vice-provost Professor Jürgen Barkhoff said he had created 180 more places in a range of high-demand courses, an increase of around 5% in capacity. UCD said it has increased its first-year places for CAD applicants by 7% in fields such as engineering, science, computer science and the arts.