Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris T.D., has today announced an additional €38 million for higher education institutions for the 2021-2022 academic year.
The devolved capital grant allocation will facilitate higher institutions to address a number of key capital investment priorities including:
- Minor works and equipment needs to support safe campus reopening
- Procurement of additional ICT devices – including laptops – to support disadvantaged students who have difficulty in accessing a suitable device for their studies
- Investments in equipment and infrastructure that are required to support the creation of additional student places, given the exceptional circumstances facing the Leaving Cert class of 2021
- General ICT and equipment-related upgrades
- Health and safety works, and other building upgrades
- Investments to support universal access
- Energy efficiency and decarbonisation-related upgrades
The funding forms part of ongoing investment in the higher education sector under Project Ireland 2040. Funding will be provided through the Higher Education Authority (HEA).
Welcoming the news Minister of State, Anne Rabbitte said:
Investment in education and universal access will always yield the highest returns for any society
Minister Harris said:
Today, students across the country will begin to return to colleges for the first time in 19 months. It is an incredibly exciting but I am sure nervous time for many.
I am very pleased to announce a significant devolved capital grant for the higher education sector to support a range of capital priorities.
The grant funding will also 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 COVID-19 pandemic shone a spotlight on the issue of digital inequity. In response to this, I announced funding last year for the procurement of laptops to lend to students who did not have the resources to acquire a device themselves. I am pleased that this initiative will continue into the coming academic year, and higher education institutions will be able to use the devolved capital grant to procure additional laptops where they are required.
The flexible funding through the devolved capital grant complements other targeted building projects in the sector which are being advanced under Project Ireland 2040.
As was the case last year, laptops procured to support disadvantaged students will be distributed through targeted lending schemes run by the higher education institutions. This will be overseen by Access Offices in the individual institutions. Any students who consider they might be eligible to receive a device should contact their Access Office for application details.
The scheme will be primarily aimed at first year students but it is open to anyone to seek support. Last year, over 8,000 laptops were distributed to higher education students.
Previous allocations under the Devolved Capital Grant have had a significant positive impact on campus development, facilitating initiatives such as upgrading of laboratories, replacement of obsolete ICT equipment, installation of energy efficient lighting, and repurposing of existing spaces in line with the needs of students and staff.
In response to the exceptional set of circumstances facing the leaving certificate class of 2021, over 3,320 additional CAO places have been created across a broad range of courses and disciplines.
These places are in addition to 1,300 places on undergraduate courses in areas of identified skills needs funded under the Human Capital Initiative Pillar 2, and will mean that more students than ever before will be offered a place in a higher education course. The courses that places will be created on have been selected by the HEIs themselves, based on clear indicators of demand for the course.
|Institution (Technological sector)||2021/2022 Allocation – €|
|IADT Dun Laoghaire||719,244|
|Institution (Universities and other colleges)||2021/2022 Allocation – €|
|Mary Immaculate College||696,902|
|National College of Art and Design||257,583|