Review of the Fund for Students with Disabilities
By Maura O'Shea
Posted: 27 October, 2017
Number of Students with Disabilities Triples in a Decade
HEA report shows how the Fund for Students with a Disability has supported a 200% increase in participation by students with disabilities over the past decade.
The Higher Education Authority (HEA) publishes the report of the Review of the Fund for Students with Disabilities today (Friday 27th October).
This review finds that, since 2008, over €70 million has been allocated through the Fund thus enabling the participation of over 38,000 students with disabilities in further and higher education. The number of students supported by the Fund has grown from 3,800 in 2008 to almost 10,500 last year. €9.6 million will be allocated through the Fund in 2017.
The purpose of the Fund is to support higher and further education institutions in ensuring students with disabilities have the necessary assistance to enable them to fully participate in their chose course of study. The Fund is managed by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills (DES).
The independent review of the Fund was conducted by RSM UK Consultants as part of the implementation of the objectives National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education 2015-19.
The review makes fourteen recommendations including the need for a more robust model of allocation; the extension of the Fund to part-time students and, in the longer term, the transfer of the further education element of the Fund from the HEA to Solas. The HEA will commence the implementation of the recommendations immediately and will chair a Working Group to oversee the implementation process.
Commenting today Dr Graham Love, CEO of the HEA, said:
“The overall finding of this review is that this Fund has played, and continues to play, a vital role in supporting the evolution of services and supports for students with disabilities in Irish higher and further education.
The implementation of the recommendations will lead to improvements in the management and allocation of the Fund and support more students with disabilities in realising their potential through further and higher education.”