Funding of €17.2 million in the Student Hardship Fund and an additional €5 million for wellbeing measures will ensure that third-level students across Kilkenny have access to vital financial and mental health supports, Fine Gael TD John Paul Phelan has said.
Deputy Phelan said, “I know that for many third-level students in Kilkenny, 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 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.
“Specific funding allocated to IT Carlow includes €751,916 for the Student Assistance Fund and an additional €208,000 for the Institute’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund.
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
“Along with mental health services, I know that the Student Hardship Fund is a vital support for many students across the region. It provides financial help to third-level students who experience monetary difficulties while attending college. This fund will go towards helping students with costs such as books, rent and utility bills, food, travel and more.”
Speaking on the announcement of the funding, Minister Harris said, “Students have endured an incredibly difficult 18 months due to Covid-19. They are now back on campus, but they still need significant support - financial and other. Today’s 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.”
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