Third Level

€300,000 allocated to colleges to support Travellers in higher education

The funding is to support Traveller students progressing to higher education and during their studies.

HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS are receiving funds to support Traveller students progressing to and studying at third level.

A total of €300,000 has been allocated to colleges by the government to improve Travellers’ experience in higher education.

The funding is intended to support students from Traveller communities progressing to higher education and providing them with support during their studies, such as by developing study spaces, health, social or technology supports, and help with caring responsibilities.

  • Our colleagues at Noteworthy want to examine the extent of child poverty within the Traveller community. Find out more here.

The fund will help to offset the effects of the pandemic on Travellers in higher education or hoping to progress to third level, said Chairperson of Pavee Point Anastasia Crickley.

Crickley said that “essential special measures such as this are crucial to achieving real progress in realising education ambitions for Traveller families”.

“We hope this marks an important milestone in enhanced approaches to collaborative engagement with colleagues across the wider education spectrum,”  she said.

The funding is being split between 23 higher education institutions, with each receiving between €7,895 (the Marino Institute of Education) and €23,987 (University College Dublin).

€21,368 has been allocated to NUI Galway; €21,480 to Technological University Dublin; €16,619 to University College Cork; and €14,137 to Trinity.

Other universities, colleges and institutes of technology around Ireland are also set to avail of the funding, which can be put into support for student activities, developing engagement with local and national Traveller organisations, or direct financial support.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris said that Covid-19 has “posed particular problems for Travellers participating in higher education”.

“When I was appointed Minister, I met members of Traveller community who outlined the challenges they have in finding somewhere quiet to do their work or secure access to Wifi,” Haris said.

“This funding will help higher education institutions address the particular needs of individual students.”

The aim with this funding is to ensure that the risks associated with Covid-19 do not serve to widen the existing and very significant gap in participation in higher education by Travellers.”

CEO of the Higher Education Association Dr Alan Wall said that “increasing and maintaining Traveller participation in higher education is fundamental to ensuring that the student body reflects the diversity and social mix of Ireland’s population”.

“While the Covid-19 pandemic has affected all of Irish society, we must recognise the particular impact it is having on the Traveller community,” Dr Wall said.

The money was ring-fenced for supporting Travellers in third level education late last year, and has now been broken down into allocations for specific institutions.

It was secured through the Dormant Accounts Fund and approved by the Department of Rural and Community Development.