€420k in financial help and mental health support for Athlone's TU students

Minister Simon Harris has announced a €22 million support package of financial and mental health wellbeing supports for third-level students.

The funding includes €1.06 million for the new Technological University of the Shannon (TUS), with €417,329 of this set aside for its Athlone-based students.

The €22 million awarded nationally consists of €17.2 million in student supports, and €5 million towards students' mental health and wellbeing.

"When we set about getting staff and students back to college campuses, we also made a commitment we would put supports in place to make this happen," said Minister Harris, who has responsibility for Further and Higher Education.

"Today I am delighted to follow through on that commitment with the announcement of two very important funds

"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. The Student Assistance Fund is a fund that is in place for students who might be financially struggling, and today we are confirming €17 million for students.

"The long-term impact of the pandemic on young people's mental health has the potential to be significant.

"We invested €5 million in services and increasing staff numbers last year and this additional €5 million will enable the continued provision and enhancement of student counselling services and the roll-out of innovative mental health and wellbeing supports for students and training for staff."

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, and medical costs.

The mental health funding is due to be used for measures including the recruitment of additional student counsellors, the recruitment of additional assistant psychologists, and student outreach activities to help raise awareness among students of mental health and wellbeing services available.