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Technological Universities

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 19 May 2022

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Questions (126, 146)

Thomas Gould

Question:

126. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science when technological university funding status will be given equal standing to NUI universities. [25374/22]

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Rose Conway-Walsh

Question:

146. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the steps he is taking to address the disparity in funding between traditional universities and technological universities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25392/22]

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Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 126 and 146 together.

At present the Department allocates recurrent funding to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) for direct disbursement to HEA designated higher education institutions. Funding is distributed via the Recurrent Grant Allocation Model (RGAM) which currently utilises a 'two pot' system.

In 2016, the Higher Education Authority (HEA) appointed an independent Expert Panel to review the current allocation model for funding higher education and to make recommendations on the most appropriate funding model for the future. The completed review recommends reforms to the HEA funding distribution model. A key recommendation was that (in principle) the future funding model should adopt a universal approach to supporting all higher education institutions facilitated by the development of a Costing Model applied consistently across Higher Education Institutes.

Aligned with the siginificant transformation of the sector in terms of the development and designation of Technological Universities, the implementation of this recommendation requires consideration in the context of the sustainable model of funding for higher education. In this regard, on the 4th of May I launched Funding the Future, a landmark policy on the future of higher education.

Funding the Future, which was approved for publication by Government, settles the question on sectoral funding Higher Education. The policy sets out the vision and direction of higher education funding, our commitment to addressing legacy issues in higher education and detailing our ambitious plans for investment and reform.

As outlined in the framework, my Department will engage with the HEA to develop and implement the necessary changes and updates to the funding distribution model to ensure it aligns with and facilitates key reforms necessary. The objective of this process is to ensure a transparent funding model which reflects sectoral developments, encourages high quality teaching & learning provision, excellent research and the achievement of key strategic objectives.

This will be supplemented through the development of a comparable reporting process with the sector, which will inform the consideration of future strategic policy objectives and outputs. This will build on the progress realised from the RFAM report and will be further informed by the recent report between the HEA and the OECD on resourcing higher education.

The Funding the Future policy is available on the gov.ie website at the following location: www.gov.ie/en/policy-information/49e56-future-funding-in-higher-education/.

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