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Minister Simon Harris Announces €2M Investment To Aid Underrepresented And Disadvantaged Students.

Wicklow TD Simon Harris has announced financial supports for students seeking to access higher education.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and Wicklow TD Simon Harris has today announced financial supports for students seeking to access higher education.

The measures, which will support the achievement of goals in the upcoming National Access Plan, are in addition to the €3 million to enhance opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities and autistic students to access Higher education this year.

This €2 million funding in 2022 will include;

  • An additional 50 bursaries of €5000 per student for the most disadvantaged students including those with a disability, mature students, lone parents, and further education award holders;
  • The establishment of new three year stream of funding to support Travellers and Roma participation in Higher Education;
  • Allowing those on certain existing scholarships retain the funding for graduate entry medicine.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said:

“One of my key priorities since becoming Minister is to promote access to education. We have placed a relentless focus on promoting inclusion. Education is for everyone and yet there remains significant cohorts not represented in higher education.

“That is why we intend to launch a new National Access Plan to ensure we change the conversation about higher education and ensure it is available to all who wish to access it.

“We also must ensure we help diversify our professions too. That is why I am particularly pleased that we are allowing certain scholarship holders continue their bursaries for graduate entry medicine courses.

“The student must be at the centre of all that we do, everyone should have equity of access to education independent of their socioeconomic background, ethnicity, gender, geographical location, disability or other circumstances, and this additional ring-fenced funding is created to support all in entering, participating in and succeeding in higher education.”

In addition, consideration is being given for new measures to promote transitions from further education to Higher Education for priority groups with a specific emphasis on supporting students who are member of the Traveller & Roma communities.

Once off measures will also be provided to support the development of partnership with DEIS schools, the Further Education sector and other community partners to support students from underrepresented groups to access Higher Education.

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