A sum totalling €1,332,516 has been allocated to students attending the new Technological University Shannon Midlands Midwest (TUS ) through the Student Hardship fund and wellbeing measures.
This funding is part of a finance package of €22 million announced today by Minister Simon Harris under the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science.
The news is a welcome boost for third level students, according to local Fine Gael Senator, Aisling Dolan.
“Students in need are struggling especially for rent, food and bills. It is wonderful to be back at college but it does lead to more costs of living and additional shortages of campus accommodation as some shared rooms may now be single use only.
“More students are commuting daily to Athlone and it can be exhausting fitting this all in along with part-time jobs at the weekend. Funding of over €417,000 has been announced for TUS Athlone under the Hardship Fund so students are encouraged to liaise with the access office to find out more.
“We also have many students dealing with the after-effects of lockdown and readjusting to life on campus, catching up on study and grades. Over €270,000 is being spent on additional mental health supports at TUS Midlands Midwest. If you are feeling any anxiety or stress, there are supports available to help you talk about it from texting 50808, a confidential helpline number, to talking with student counsellors.
“As a member of the first-ever Joint Oireachtas sub-committee on mental health, I have listened to groups representing students telling us about the challenges faced during lockdown in keeping up with studies remotely as well as the isolation from college friends and supports.
“The mental health funding going to TUS Midlands Midwest will be used to recruit additional student counsellors, recruit additional assistant psychologists, train HEI staff to enable them to support and refer students to appropriate services, raise awareness among students of mental health and wellbeing services available, including through student outreach activities, support implementation of the National Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Framework and support implementation of the Framework for Consent in higher education institutions,” Senator Dolan asserted.