Ministers Bruton & Mitchell O’Connor announce Institutions to benefit from €6m funding for disadvantaged students to access Higher Education

30 December 2017 

Ministers Bruton & Mitchell O’Connor announce Institutions to  benefit from €6m funding for disadvantaged students to access Higher Education

Ministers also announce allocation of further €.3m to encourage diversity in teaching profession

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D. and Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. today announced the institutions to benefit from the €6m “1916 Bursary Fund” and the quantity of bursaries to be allocated to each over the course of the next three years. The Ministers also announced the allocation of a further €.3m funding for initiatives to widen access to initial teacher training courses.

The 1916 Bursary Fund will support 600 students over the course of three years. These students will be from target groups who are currently under-represented in higher education and the fund will provide them with a bursary of €5,000 per academic year to support them in their studies. A significant proportion of these students will be lone parents and those studying both part-time and full-time are eligible to apply. An individual can be in receipt of both a 1916 bursary and a SUSI grant, if they are eligible.

The Ministers also announced the allocation of €.3m funding for initiatives to widen access to initial teacher training courses to encourage and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds to study to be teachers. This will fund an additional 70 students to become teachers and will bring the total investment in these initiatives to €2.7m.

The Action Plan for Education, which aims to make Ireland’s education system the best in Europe by 2026, clearly outlines the Government’s commitment to breaking down barriers to education and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their full potential. Today’s announcements will not only support under-represented groups to access higher education, but will also encourage those students to become teachers themselves, thus becoming role models for others.

Announcing the funding, Minister Bruton said “Ensuring those who come to education at a disadvantage are fully supported is a key priority of mine as Minister. If we want our Education system to be the best, it must be as inclusive as possible. This funding is one of a range of measures we are taking to ensure that this is the case. We currently provide over €300m in SUSI grants to students every year for example, thus ensuring nearly 45% of undergraduate students receive state funding to support their studies. I’m particularly happy that we are supporting people from disadvantaged backgrounds to become teachers, thus becoming role models for the rest of their community.”

In announcing the initiative, Minister Mitchell O’Connor commented:

“This represents the first and second strand of PATH funding and fulfils a commitment in the National Access Plan, 2015-19, and it is also one of the actions in the Action Plan for Education.

Today’s announcement will help more people from disadvantaged groups to get to third level, which is a major goal of the National Access Plan and the Action Plan for Education. A priority for me as Minister of State for Higher Education is to provide target groups with more opportunities to reach their potential. They broaden the options available to students from the target groups by supporting participation on a part-time basis. Initiatives such as these which have the potential to really help to break the cycle of disadvantage for many communities.”

For more detail on centres approved click here