27/02/2020

1916 Bursary Fund To Be Extended For Another Three Years

The 1916 Bursary Fund is to be extended to new applicants for another three years, the Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh and Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O'Connor have announced.

To date the scheme has already supported 600 students. The expansion will double the number of people on the programme by supporting an additional 200 students to access higher education in each of the next three academic years.

A student, who meets a specific criteria as being among a group which is under-represented in higher level education, can apply to the programme. Each successful applicant will receive a €5,000 annual bursary during their undergraduate studies.

The extension of the programme provides clarity for students seeking to start university or college courses in September 2020, 2021 and 2022 who may wish to apply for the scheme.

The 1916 bursaries is funded through the Programme for Access to Higher Education Fund (PATH), which was established on a pilot basis in 2016.

PATH has already played a significant role in supporting increased participation of students at third level, including those from socio economically disadvantaged backgrounds, Irish Travellers, students with a disability, lone parents, mature students, further education award holders and those transitioning directly to higher education from leaving cert.

Minister McHugh said: "I am delighted that the 1916 Bursary Scheme is being extended to allow Government to deepen supports for more people and help to break historic barriers to higher education.

"Hundreds of people have already benefited from the programme and it is essential that we are able to preserve and expand such an important support mechanism for disadvantaged groups."

Minister Mitchell O'Connor said: "As Minister for Higher Education, I am dedicated to making sure that everybody, regardless of their background or circumstances, has the opportunity to progress to higher education.

"The PATH fund has enabled our institutions to create new and innovative programmes to improve access to higher education. These have been absolutely crucial in giving those with huge potential, who might otherwise miss out, the opportunity to go on to higher education.

"I've been lucky enough to meet and hear the inspiring stories of many people who have benefited from these really innovative schemes, outreach programmes and bursaries, and whose lives are being transformed by their new opportunity. Congratulations are due to all involved on making these programmes happen."

PATH has three funding strands to supports initiatives that increase the number of students from underrepresented groups entering higher education including teacher training, and is supporting higher education institutions to develop regional and community partnerships that make higher education more accessible to identified groups.

(MH/CM)

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