Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has announced changes that mean all Irish citizens will be treated equally when it comes to paying college fees.

Students from migrant backgrounds who became Irish citizens during their course of study were, until now, forced to continue to pay fees of up to €11,000 per year.

This week the Cabinet approved a measure to reverse this.

However, hundreds of students from migrant backgrounds will still be obliged to pay huge fees, even though they have grown up in Ireland and are in the process of acquiring citizenship.

These students are often charged between €6,000 and €11,000 per year and they are not entitled to apply for grant assistance.

The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland has welcomed the initiative.

However, it says years of residency also need to be taken into account when it comes to deciding a young person's third level entitlements.

Young migrants are only allowed to begin the process of acquiring citizenship when they turn 16.

The process takes several years and many are barred from attending college in the meantime due to the high level of fees they are required to pay.