Written Answers. - Student Funding.

Theresa Ahearn

Question:

934 Mrs. T. Ahearn asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will give details of the funding provided by his Department to the special fund for students with disabilities for each of the years from 1996 to 1998; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1326/99]

The special fund for students with disabilities, which is administered by the Department of Education and Science, assists students who have special needs in attending third level institutions and from 1998, students attending approved post-leaving certificate courses. Grants are provided to students for the purchase of special equipment, special materials, technological aids, targeted transport services and sign language assistance-interpreters and personal assistants. Due to limited resources it is not always possible to allocate funding to every applicant under the fund or indeed to allocate the total amount requested by each applicant.

The allocation provided to the special fund for students with disabilities since 1996 is as follows:

Year

Allocation to Special Fund

£

1996

115,000

1997

218,000

1998

250,000

I am providing for a substantial increase in funding for access initiatives in 1999 and 2000 and this will benefit the special fund for students with disabilities. I will announce in due course the allocation of the additional resources when I have fully considered how best to proceed in this area.