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New scholarship fund for students from disadvantaged areas

Ruairí Quinn announces a new higher education scholarship scheme aimed solely at 60 pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE EDUCATION MINISTER Ruairí Quinn has announced a new scholarship scheme for higher education, for students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The new scheme will see 60 students from DEIS (designated disadvantaged) secondary schools receive a bursary of €2,000 this coming September, with the number of bursaries rising over the next three years.

It is intended that 350 students will be able to avail of the bursary by 2015. The awards will be given on a regional basis, rewarding students based on their Leaving Cert results.

Quinn made the announcement at the Teachers’ Union of Ireland national congress in Wexford this afternoon, saying he believed the scheme was “the only equitable manner of distributing the limited funds we have available for bursaries – focussing them on the students who most need our support”.

A total overhaul of existing state-funded scholarship schemes was announced in the 2012 Budget, with any new bursaries focussing on the needs of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Students qualifying for the bursaries will still be entitled to apply for maintenance grants towards their fees or any student contribution for their chosen course of study.

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These bursaries will be augmented by a small number of bursaries focussed on students who undertake studies in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“They will be named the Walton Bursaries after Ernest Walton - Ireland’s only Nobel laureate in science, and the man who, with John Cockcroft, became the first person to split the atom,” Quinn said.

More: Ruairi Quinn refuses to rule out cuts to teacher allowances

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Gavan Reilly

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