Since the onset of Covid-19 in March, my Department and the Higher Education Authority (HEA) have collaborated with key stakeholders from the Higher Education sector, including the Irish Universities Association, (IUA) and the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA) to identify, quantify and develop options to mitigate the financial impacts of Covid 19 on the sector.
A stakeholder working group chaired by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), including representatives from my Department, the IUA, THEA and TU Dublin, worked to collect information on the overall increased costs and projected income losses advised by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) arising from the crisis, based on an agreed set of assumptions
In addition to the sectoral analysis the HEA and representative bodies engaged closely to provide specific and granular institutional-level detail essential to safeguard individual institutions and the sector as a whole and to inform the process of examining options to support the sustainability of the sector. Furthermore my Department has met with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to discuss the potential impact of COVID on the sector and the issue has also been highlighted at Government.
The provision of additional financial support in order that the sector can contribute fully to economic recovery and to meeting priority skill needs is currently being assessed and my Department will continue to engage with key stakeholders to underpin the achievement of this objective.