Funding of €17.2 million for the Student Assistance Fund and an additional €5 million for wellbeing measures will ensure that third-level students across County Kildare have access to vital financial and mental health supports, Minister Martin Heydon TD for Kildare South has said.

“I know that for many third-level students across County Kildare, the pandemic and remote learning in particular took a toll on their mental health. As students have now returned to university and college campuses, we need to make sure that additional measures are in place so that students can access the support they need.

“The Student Assistance Fund provides financial support to full or part-time students who are experiencing financial difficulties while attending college. Students can apply for the Student Assistance Fund to help with either temporary or ongoing financial difficulties.

The Student Assistance Fund is available to help with costs such as books and class materials, rent and other utility bills, food, essential travel, childcare costs, medical costs.  Funding of €17.2m includes €1,072,168 for Maynooth University and €751,916 for IT Carlow and equivalent amounts for other universities.

“Funding for Student Mental Health Services to all colleges is vital to continue the provision of student counselling services.  The Government invested €5 million in mental health services and hiring extra staff last year, and Minister Simon Harris has redoubled his commitment to this issue with today’s announcement of an additional €5 million to continue the provision of student counselling services.

“This additional allocation includes €275k for Maynooth University and €208k for IT Carlow.

The mental health funding will be used to:

  • recruit additional Student Counsellors
  • recruit additional Assistant Psychologists
  • train HEI staff to enable them to support and refer students to appropriate services
  • raise awareness among students of mental health and wellbeing services available, including through student outreach activities
  • support implementation of the National Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Framework
  • support implementation of the Framework for Consent in HEIs; Safe, Respectful, Supportive and Positive: Ending Sexual Harassment in Irish Higher Education Institutions

“This combined funding of €22 million is a direct investment in students to ensure the support they need is in place as they transition from remote to on-campus learning,” concluded Minister Heydon.