Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Ceisteanna (85)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

85. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the budget and posts allocated to access programmes in the higher education sector in 2017. [25885/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The annual core grant allocation by the HEA to each higher education institution includes an access funding element which is based on the number of students from access target groups who are participating in each institution as derived from the return of annual student data by each institution to the HEA. In 2017 a total of €31.2 million was allocated to HEA institutions as part of their block grant allocations on the basis of the calculations using their access metrics. The purpose of this access element in the core grant is to support the equity of access infrastructure of each institution, including the staffing of access programmes and services as well as other relevant supports for students provided by a range of services across each institution including teaching and learning, student services etc. Within the overall framework for reviewing the accountability and performance of higher education, each institution is legally autonomous as regards the internal allocation of the budget for and staffing of academic and non-academic supports and services for students, including the budget and staffing of access programmes and services.

In 2017 funding provided by this Department for access programmes, which include the Programme for Access to Higher Education (PATH) fund, Student Assistance Fund and the Fund for Students with Disabilities was almost €24m.

Through the PATH Fund a total investment of €16.2m will be made over three years to support greater levels of access and participation in higher education. In 2017 a total of €4.4m was allocated for the three strands of PATH.

In 2016/2017 almost €8m was allocated for the Student Assistance Fund (SAF) supporting 16,000 students in higher education. In 2017/2018 SAF was extended to support part-time student's who are lone parents and from other target groups in the National Access Plan by adding a further €1m to the Fund. A total of €9.1m was allocated through the Student Assistance Fund (SAF) in 2017/2018.

In 2017 €10,022,489 was allocated through the Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD) supporting the participation of almost 12,000 students with disabilities.