Funding for safe third level reopening welcomed

News that €105 million in Government funding has been allocated for the third level sector to safely reopen in September 2021 has been welcomed locally.

“Having students return to in-person and on campus learning and training is vitally important this year. We have all seen the difficulties that these students have had to endure over the past 18 months,” said Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith. “Supporting them and ensuring they return to campus safely is key to getting back to a normal way of life and ensuring their path through education is as smooth and as successful as possible.”

Over the summer and on into the autumn institutions and providers, with their stakeholders, will be planning and working to make sure that this happens. Contingency plans are also being prepared in the event of a spike in Covid-cases, but colleges will continue to have significant on-site attendance.

The package will include financial support for further and higher education to return on-site safely and in line with public health advice, and additional student supports for students in further and higher education.

€21 million of this funding will be allocated to provide specific extra supports for students including an extra €3m for student mental health, an extra €10m for the Student Assistance Fund which provides financial supports to students experiencing financial difficulties while in college, and €8m for the Mitigating Educational Disadvantage Fund which supports and engages disadvantaged learners.

The local elected representative added: “I very much welcome this funding which will include additional mental health and other student supports. The Government remains committed to third level education safely reopening and staying on-site in line with public health guidelines for the rest of the year.”