€5 million in funds allocated to Higher Education

By Steven - Last update

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Today, the government announced that €5 million has been made available for the Higher Education Innovation and Transformation Fund. They also launched a process where education institutions can apply for additional funds for operating throughout a number of campuses. These schemes are part of the €100 million fund which the government has been providing to higher education since 2016.

Both measures are recommendations of a review of the fiscal allocation model for higher education. This review was published in January 2018. While the review process began in 2016 and involved research, analysis, and consultation with stakeholders. The results were informed by a number of papers which examined the key issues and questions, the cost drivers and the costing system underpinning higher education and international allocation approaches.

Drop in the Ocean

But is this enough? The Irish Universities Association calls for further investment in the upcoming budget. Jim Miley Director General of the Association states: ‘This Budget must urgently address the underlying quality issues arising from a decade of underfunding as well as building capacity to absorb the significant growth in student numbers. We are seeking an increase of €130m in core current funding and €104m in essential capital upgrades in 2019. State funding per student now is just half what it was ten years ago.’

Higher Education Funding Application

In this new scheme, funding will be allocated on a competitive basis with the best proposals being awarded funding. Presently, applications are sought in four areas:

  • The support of innovation, transformation and quality improvement in teaching and student learning outcomes
  • The support of student retention and progression in individual institutions and through institutional collaboration
  • Innovation and transformation in flexible, distance and e-learning opportunities and programmes
  • Measures to support Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

The proposals will be independently assessed by an international expert panel and funding will be allocated to the successful projects later this year. The application process is now open and details of submission deadlines are available on the website of the Higher Education Authority.

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Gemma is a nomadic writer, filmmaker, & journalist.
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