Simon Harris announces €38 million fund for Higher Education Institutions

The Department of Further and Higher Education has announced the bill for higher education institutions.

This funding will go towards a number of key priorities. These include works and equipment for the reopening of campuses, additional devices such as laptops for disadvantaged students, upgrades for institutions’ information/communication technology (ICT) equipment, health and safety works, universal access, and energy efficiency related upgrades.

Funding will be provided through the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

Higher education institutions will be able to run laptop lending schemes for students who may need to avail of a suitable work device. These schemes will be supervised by the Access Offices in each institution.

These supports are established mainly for first year students but will be made available to anyone in need of the additional support.

Minister Harris expressed optimism with the approval of the grant, noting how it will help “facilitate the safe and very welcome return of students to campus-based learning, and will allow higher education institutions to carry out necessary minor works and equipment upgrades across their estates over the coming year.”

The statement released by the Department of Further Education also notes of the inclusion of over 3,320 additional CAO places in response to the results of the 2021 Leaving Certificate. This is in addition to 1,300 places in areas of identified skills requiring additional funding. These additional positions will be decided by the Institutions themselves and will be based on demand and current availability for specific courses.

The funding will be split roughly equal between the technological sectors and Universities/other institutions.