The Minister for Further and Higher Education says the designation of Limerick and Athlone Institutes of Technology to Technological University Status will be a major boost to Tipperary.
The move means Thurles and Clonmel are to become university towns.
All students graduating from the facilities from next year will receive university qualifications – however it hasn’t been decided when the two ITs will become a technological university.
Minister Simon Harris says the change will be positive for Tipperary on a number of levels.
“It’s a really important day for Higher Education but alongside that it’s a really important day for regional development.”
“We have to move beyond this idea that all roads must lead to the big city if you want to access university education. Clonmel and Thurles will become university towns and think that will mean a lot for education but I also think it will mean a lot for regional development because young people will now be able to stay in their county and go to a university.”
“When I talk to the likes of the IDA they talk about the importance of having access to university education in terms of driving in foreign direct investment and creating jobs.”
LIT President Professor Vincent Cunnane describes it as a Red-Letter Day for the Midlands and Mid West.
Speaking on Tipp Today he said the move to Technological University status will have long term benefits.
“It’s about building on what we have and what we’ve done in the past and strengthening and broadening the activities that we do.”
“We’re going to double in size essentially from both a staff complement and from a student complement and that means we’ll do more things across the educational spectrum. Our research and stuff will be able to deepen because we will develop critical mass in a number of areas.”
“So it’s not about abandoning any of what we hold dear but it is about strengthening, deepening, broadening.”