Trinity student and asylum seeker Nadezda (Nadia) Prochukham will be returning to second year after securing donations from anonymous sources.
The 20-year-old hit national headlines in 2014 when she achieved 615 points in the Leaving Cert but was refused government funding because of her asylum seeker status. Moreover, her mother’s application from 2011 to remain in Ireland was still under review, meaning Nadia’s was facing a €8000 a year tuition fees due to her EU status.
In an Irish Times interview (August 12 2016) her mother Tatiana recalled how despite her three jobs “often there was no bread on the table”. As a result of national coverage of Nadia’s case, the Department of Education and Skills reversed legislation in order to allow asylum seekers a right to third-level student grants.
In the mean time, before this is enforced, Nadia has received anonymous donations amounting to €20,000 which covers her first and second year so she can pursue her academic aspirations.
Alongside this, the Prochukham’s asylum application has been approved so now, after a five year wait, they are finally considered Irish citizens. Although they are not able to vote, Nadia can now also receive third-level grants.
Recently Trinity News reported on a homeless mother Erica Fleming whose upcoming place at Trinity has been jeopardised due to government cuts to the Back to Education programme and One-Parent family income.
Ms Fleming and 25 other students have to wait for a five-month review of their cases before receiving their vital financial support. Therefore these students will have to reapply for the Trinity Access Programme course, which due to TCD cuts over the last five years has had its course capacity and funding dramatically reduced.
Nadia’s case gives hope that continued coverage can help support/push for change for students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.