Up to 10,000 third-level students are to receive financial support to buy laptops, iPads and other tools to study at home, following a decision by the Irish government.
Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris secured agreement for a €160 million funding package to help meet the additional costs to the third level education sector due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
€168 million package from Government to support our third level sector, help them safely reopen & crucially extra supports for students -doubling of student assistance fund, extra funding for mental health & students with disabilities & €15m fund to provide access to devices pic.twitter.com/Nb3265dQNN
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) July 22, 2020
Under the new plan, a new €15m fund will help students buy the devices, as many third-level campuses will not be fully open, forcing many to study remotely.
The initiative will also include a major fund of up to €150m for universities and institutes of technology to help update their campuses to operate during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
While the aim is for students to return to campus, college life is unlikely return to normal for some time to come, with an increase in modules or courses being taught online.
€3m will be made available for mental health supports. A further €16m will be made available to double the student assistance fund. This comes at a time when many young people have lost their part-time jobs, opportunities to avail of the J1 Visa scheme or other ways of earning money.
The Higher Education Authority will be tasked with “speedily” devising a scheme through which the supports are to be distributed to students.
The details of the funding are as follows:
- €14m to recognise the personal protective equipment they provided
- €34m invested in online
- €48m to deal with disruption to research
- €1.2m for additional research
- €15m for students to access technology such as laptops
- €3m for student mental health and well-being
- The student assistance fund will be doubled from €8m to €16m
- €2m funding for students with disabilities