An additional €38 million has been announced by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, to aid third level institutions for the 2021/2022 academic year. The funding forms part of ongoing investment in the higher education sector under Project Ireland 2040. Funding will be provided through the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

The fund will mainly be directed towards the provision of laptops for first-year students who have difficulties finding a suitable device for college work, however, students from other year groups will still be eligible. 

Laptops will be provided through the laptop scheme announced last year, whereby roughly 8,000 laptops were distributed. Harris commented to the Independent, “I am pleased that this initiative will continue into the coming academic year, and higher education institutions will be able to use the devolved capital grant to procure additional laptops where they are required.” This year, around 11,000 laptops will be given to students through Access Offices in individual institutions. Students who wish to avail of the scheme should contact the UCD Access Office. 

The fund will also tackle some of the issues brought about by the pandemic; minor works and equipment need to support the safe reopening of campuses will be addressed, as well as investment in infrastructure for additional college places in light of the exceptional circumstances faced by the 2021 Leaving Certificate candidates.

Rosie Roberts Kuntz – Assistant News Editor