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Wednesday January 22nd 2014

Measures could result in up to an extra €1 million being made available for students in financial difficulties

The USI (Union of Students in Ireland) have, through the HEA (Higher Education Authority), secured potentially up to an additional €1 million for the Student Assistance Fund (SAF). This top up will assist in protecting financially vulnerable students as they continue their studies in the New Year.

The SAF is the primary student hardship fund accessible for students in Universities and Institutes of Technology across the country.

The additional funding comes from two sources. The first is a direct top up of €350,000 to the SAF, secured from accrued interest within the overall HEA Budget. This has already been allocated to Higher Education Institutes (HEI’s) across the country.

Secondly, Institutes of Technology (IOT’s) received a positive transfer of additional end of year monies from the HEA, consisting of a share of unallocated grants and unspent Strategic Investment Development Fund money. The HEA have contacted each IOT advising them to make additional monies available to the SAF from this transfer.

USI President Joe O’Connor said:

“This is a positive development which will hopefully go some way towards protecting those students who are in greatest need.

We are confident that IOT’s will make as much funding as possible available to the SAF, and our member Students’ Unions across the country will be working internally to bring this about.

We appreciate the support of the Department and the HEA in making this possible, however we must now work towards ensuring students are no longer left in dire straits trying to survive in college, and being forced to rely on this Fund.”

For more information contact Grainne O Reilly USI Communications and Research Executive on 0876776636 or 019052100

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