Students at a private Dublin college say they have lost confidence in their course provider and feel "fobbed off" following a meeting this evening aimed at addressing the fact that their degree programme in social care does not meet the required standard.

During an online meeting with students, Dublin Business School outlined a range of "pathways" which may be open to students on their social care programme.

Warning that measures to address the shortfall were going to take time to implement, the college said it would meet students individually to discuss which options may be best for them.

Around 80 students of the college's Applied Social Care course are affected.

The students say they had been led to believe by the college that completion of the course would enable them to register as social care workers with the health and social care professional regulator CORU.

Dublin Business School has explained that the programme had to be running before they could apply for validation with CORU, but its application was withdrawn in early summer amid concern that the course was not going to meet the standard required.

Among the options suggested to students by the college was a one-year deferral of studies to allow the college time to reapply to the health and social care professional regulator CORU, and to attempt again to gain validation.

DBS also outlined an option known as the 'grandparenting' route, whereby students already working in the sector for a number years can apply for recognition based on their work record.

It also said it was in discussions with other colleges about the possibility of students transferring to CORU approved courses elsewhere, but this option is not yet guaranteed.

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The college told students that different options would suit different students depending on their individual circumstances. It said it would work with students to help them find jobs in roles that could help them meet the CORU requirements for registration as social care workers.

Students told RTÉ News how they have borrowed money to pursue their studies or quit other jobs to enable them to undertake work experience as part of the course.

Part-time students told how they have spent the past two years juggling caring for their young children with demanding study in order to pursue their goal of qualifying as a social care worker.

They expressed anger and frustration at the meeting with college representatives.

Several demanded the refund of fees amounting to up to €12,000 that they have paid to the college over the past two years.

At the meeting, the college appeared to rule this out as an option for students. In a subsequent statement it said that reimbursement remained under consideration for any students who do not become eligible to get onto the CORU register.

Asked by students to explain why the course had failed to meet the standard expected of it, DBS representatives said much of that information was confidential but that CORU had stated there was not enough evidence to show that standards could be met.

In its statement, DBS said providing a solution for its students remained its top priority. It said the pathway for each individual would depend on what stage of the programme they have completed. It said in some cases more than one pathway may be available, but it said that details of each pathway had yet to be finalised.

After the meeting, student Carmel Corrigan said they felt they were being "fobbed off" by the college.

"I did the course because I want to help people," she said.

"To do that, we have to have CORU registration, and we've found out that it's not longer going to be approved by CORU, which is disappointing and worrying."