Task Force on Students Affected
by the Closure of Private Colleges


In early 2014, a number of private colleges, primarily offering English language courses, closed suddenly leaving significant numbers of largely non-EEA students unable to complete the courses for which they had enrolled and paid. On 21 May 2014, the Minister for Education and Skills and the Minister for Justice and Equality announced the establishment of a Task Force on students affected by the closures. The Task Force was chaired by senior officials of the two Departments and comprised membership from the Department of Education and Skills; the Department of Justice and Equality; the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Quality and Qualifications Ireland; Marketing English in Ireland; the Higher Education Colleges Association; Enterprise Ireland; and the Irish Council for International Students and City of Dublin ETB. It sat until July 2014 when it reported to the two Ministers.

The primary role of the Task Force was to coordinate efforts to source reasonable, alternative study courses for students affected by the closures. To do this, the Task Force engaged with high-quality private providers with learner protection arrangements in place to examine the options for providing reasonable accommodation to assist students. For English-language students affected by the closures, ACELS-recognised colleges who are members of Marketing English in Ireland (MEI), an organisation which provides learner protection arrangements for students through its member colleges, offered alternative provision at a reduced fee to displaced students in order to continue their studies. Students on non-English language courses were offered assistance in completing their courses by certain colleges who are members of the Higher Education Colleges Association (HECA), and have learner protection arrangements in place.

As confirmed in January 2015, the Departments of Justice and Equality and Education and Skills continue to seek to advance the regulatory reforms to the student immigration process that were announced in September 2014. Further information in this regard will be posted to this website when available. As set out in Ireland’s International Education Strategy 2010-15, the interests of students are at the heart of our concerns.

Please review the Updates page for information on ongoing developments.

The information on this website will be updated on a regular basis.