Written answers

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Department of Education and Science

Third Level Access Programmes

9:00 pm

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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Question 692: To ask the Minister for Education and Science if funding for third level access programmes in the Dublin universities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds are affected by budgetary cuts; the funding from his Department to each of the Dublin universities under this heading; the number of pupils assisted in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6499/10]

Photo of Batt O'KeeffeBatt O'Keeffe (Minister, Department of Education and Science; Cork North West, Fianna Fail)
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The Third Level Access Measure provides support for disadvantaged students through two sub-priorities: the Student Assistance Fund and the Fund for Students with Disabilities. The objective of the Student Assistance Fund, is to assist students, in a sensitive and compassionate manner, who might otherwise, due to their financial circumstances, be unable to continue their third level studies. The Fund for Students with Disabilities provides funding to both further and higher education institutions for the provision of services and supports for full-time students with disabilities. The fund is managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of my Department and is funded under the National Development Plan, with assistance from the European Social Fund.

The Deputy will be aware that the need for budgetary adjustment has made it necessary to discontinue the Millennium Partnership Fund from the 2010/11 academic year. The fund was disbursed by local Partnership Companies, mostly in the form of small grants to individual students to cover costs of items such as books and travel. Most students in receipt of support from the fund will continue to be supported under the means-tested student maintenance grant schemes and many will benefit from the significantly higher special rate of grant. In addition, third level students in difficult financial circumstances will continue to have access to the Student Assistance Fund.

The Higher Education Authority also provides institutions with recurrent funding to develop the necessary infrastructure and programmes to support wider access for people with a disability, mature students and young people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The table below outlines the funding provided under the Student Assistance Fund to Dublin-based institutions for the 2009/10 academic year. SAF Allocations 2009-10 - Dublin-based Institutions DIT €379,872 ITB €12,168 IT Tallaght €76,176 DLIADT €55,008 UCD €607,500 TCD €464,832 DCU €247,824 St Pat's Drumcondra €73,044 Marino College €13,176 COI College €3,348 Froebel College €9,432 National College Ireland €35,172 RCSI €18,252 Mater Dei €13,068 NCAD €31,644

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