Written answers

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Education Policy

Photo of Gerald NashGerald Nash (Louth, Labour)
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525. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she will increase the fund for students with disabilities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18824/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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The Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD) supports participation by students with a disability in full-time programmes of further and higher education. The FSD is one of the main funding sources supporting participation by students with disabilities in approved further and higher education courses in Ireland. It also supports students from Ireland to study on approved courses in Northern Ireland, the UK and other EU countries. The actual level of support to be provided to individual students is decided by each HEI who carry out a needs assessment to determine the types of supports and accommodations needed. The 2020 allocation to the fund is €9.6m which is expected to support circa 14,000 students.

It is not anticipated that there will be a need to increase the fund in 2020. Should individual institutions experience an increased demand then the HEA can address those demands from within the existing allocation for the FSD. Any proposals for next year will be considered in the context of Budget

2021.

 Separately, the Deputy will be aware that I recently secured a financial support package for the further and higher education sector which is aimed at addressing Covid-19 impacts and facilitating the reopening plans for the sector. The support package will provide €168 million in supports including €28 million in supports for students for IT equipment, access measures and mental health and wellbeing. This support package will be used to assist students returning to education, including students with disabilities.

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