Government launches once-off Covid payment scheme for third level students

The scheme will offer assistance to all EU undergraduate and postgraduate students

In a press release this morning, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins have announced a €50 million once-off Covid payment scheme for third level students.

This scheme aims to provide financial relief for all EU undergraduate and postgraduate students “in recognition of the significant upheaval they have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

The release comes as confirmation of the €250 payment for third level students that was announced in Budget 2021 in October.  

Students who receive the Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grant will get a €250 top up of their grant payment next month. 

Any student who is paying their fees in installments this year can take €250 off their next instalment. Students who are not paying their fees in installments or receiving SUSI grants can put €250 towards on campus services or opt to receive a credit note for their institution. 

Speaking about this new scheme Minister Harris recognised the impact of Covid-19 on young people. He also expressed his hope that this payment “can go some way to compensating students for any equipment a student may have had to pay for – such as a desk, chair, or new laptop”.

Speaking about the government release this morning, Union of Students in Ireland (USI) President Lorna Fitzpatrick highlighted her concerns that the payment will only be available to EU students. 

In a media release, she stated that “Covid-19 does not impact students differently, so it would be unfair if students were treated differently”. She highlighted the expensive fees that non-EU students are paying to Irish colleges and called for students in all higher education institutions to receive “the same payment”.

Since the introduction of Level 5 restrictions, Trinity campus has remained open for students, along with the libraries. Other student facilities such as the gym remain closed under Level 5. 

Kate Henshaw

Kate Henshaw is current Deptuty Editor of Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister Sociology and Social Policy student. She previously served as News Editor and Assistant News Editor.