Organisations representing students and third-level education institutions are calling on Minister for Education Norma Foley to bring forward the date of the Leaving Certificate results.

The universities and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) say they believe results will be published again this year in September, for the fourth year running.

However, the Department of Education has said there is no indication that the results will be published as late as September this year.

A date for the results has yet to be decided on by the State Examinations Commission (SEC).

The SEC said: "The State Examinations Commission and the Department of Education are acutely aware of the needs of candidates and other stakeholders in regard to the provision of Leaving Certificate results and continue to do everything we can to ensure results are delivered at the earliest possible opportunity.

"The SEC and the Dept of Education continue to work closely to ensure that the results for Leaving Certificate 2023 are delivered in as timely a manner as possible."

Student groups are calling on the minister to ensure that the 2023 results are issued on what was their traditional mid-August date.

The USI, Irish Universities Association (IUA) and the Technical Higher Education Association (THEA) say that the Department of Education indicated to them at a recent meeting that results for this year's Leaving Certificate examinations may not be released until September.

In a statement, the groups said that the remainder of society had returned to normality, and it would be unacceptable that Leaving Certificate students should continue to suffer the after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The traditional sitting of the Leaving Certificate was disrupted during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The delay in exam results would mean that prospective students to third-level institutions face a shorter academic year, the groups stated.

A shorter academic year creates a domino effect of problems for first year students such as reduced contact time with lecturers during the most critical year of study, less time to source accommodation in a time when housing is already a major problem and the curtailing of induction activities that allow students to mingle socially, they said.

Chair of the IUA Registrars Group Shane Kilcommins said that a delay in results would place "intolerable strain on first-year students and their families and makes it even harder for them to find accommodation in an already stressed housing market".

🗣"The current situation with Leaving Certificate results & college entry running 3 weeks late in untenable. It's placing intolerable strain on 1st year students & their families and makes it even harder for them to find accommodation." Prof @ShaneKil @UL

— Irish Universities Assoc. (@IUAofficial) March 23, 2023

The representative groups said that institutions "are experiencing increased retention problems which can be directly traced back to the late entry into higher education for Leaving Certificate students".

The retention issue stems from "the squeezing of the first-year experience and the inability to ease transition through appropriate and comprehensive induction and orientation activities", according to the statement.

The statement said that collectively these issues place immense mental strain on students.

USI President Beth O'Reilly said that "the lack of clarity around the Leaving Cert results date has a hugely negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of students progressing from second-level to third-level education".

The representative groups acknowledge that the Government has provided additional supports to higher education institutions to help with the growing mental health issues among students. However, they warn that the consequences of this decision will have a detrimental effect on the mental health of students.

Last year, the minister stated results had been delayed due to extra burdens such as the provision of a second sitting of the Leaving Certificate, challenges around correctors and commitments to give grade profiling.