Third-level students will receive a Christmas treat as Minister for Further Education Simon Harris announces a once-off Covid-19 payment scheme. According to reports, around 200,000 third-level students will receive a payment, or a refund to the value of €250. It will be due in the coming weeks, as part of the scheme announced today.
Minister Harris said the payment is a recognition of the financial challenges caused by the shift to online learning.
“We hope [the scheme] can go some way to compensating students for any equipment a student may have had to pay for – such as a desk, chair, or new laptop,” he said. “Covid-19 has disrupted all our lives but for young people, it has resulted in many missed moments and many key life experiences. Today is a chance to recognise that.”
Funding of up to €50m, which was announced as part of Budget 2021, will offer financial assistance to all EU full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students in recognition of the upheaval they have experienced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A spokesperson for Minister Harris has said the scheme ensures students who receive a SUSI grant will get a top up of €250 on their grant, just before Christmas. The aim of the scheme is to compensate students for the disruption they have experienced this year due to these uncertain times.
Students not receiving a grant can avail of a €250 deduction on any outstanding fees, or receive a credit note for their institution. In some cases, alternative arrangements will be made for the payment of the monies to students.
However, non-EU students will not be eligible to partake in the scheme. Many of these students could pay fees of up to €25,000 for international students or €55,000 for medical students from abroad.
Minister Harris and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins met with the presidents of all third level institutions to discuss college life in 2021 today.
Minister Harris also encouraged students who may be experiencing challenges or difficulties to text 50808 – a 24/7 helpline to help students with any issues they may have.