Minister says new €16.5m fund will open up college to everyone

Lone parents, people with disabilities and members of the travelling community are being offered support from a new 16.5m fund to access third level education, according to Dublin South West TD and Independent Minister, Katherine Zappone.

The supports will be made available over the next three years and are part of efforts to ensure that everyone can access college.

Minister Zappone is asking the Institute of Technology in Tallaght and other third level educators to see how the supports can be used to benefit as many local people as possible.

Minister Zappone said:

“As a campaigner and an educator I am keenly aware that many people in our local communities feel unable to advance their education.

“These barriers must be removed so that everyone is given the opportunity to increase their knowledge and skills as well as enjoying the social aspect of college.

“The new supports are a welcome step in that direction. The 16.5m being made available over the next three-years will deliver a number of supports:

  • Funding bursaries worth 5,000 for 600 students to include at least 120 lone parents
  • 7.5m Funding Support Programmes to help 2,000 students complete their courses
  • Extra 3m in funding for hardship supports to help students, with priority given to lone parents

The Minister added that applications are now being invited from ‘educational regional clusters’ to the Department of Education.

“I believe that with the ITT, other local third level providers and local people of all ages with a passion for knowledge that Dublin South West would make a very strong cluster.

“Education is a right. A right which should not be taken for granted. It represents not just improved knowledge and skills it opens up opportunities for families.

“Lone parents, people with disabilities, those who are less well-off must not feel excluded from that right.

“The measures and supports which have now been announced represent an opportunity, an opportunity which I hope our educators will seize.

“As the supports are rolled out it is also important to ensure that they are delivering results. I am asking the Minister for Education to keep the supports under-review and to make sure that they are benefitting as many people as possible.”