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DkIT Welcomes €257,965 Government Funding to Support Laptop Loan Scheme to Support Disadvantaged Students

24 August 2020

New scheme aimed at addressing digital divide and providing students with the necessary tools to continue their education.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD recently announced up to 17,000 laptops will be distributed to disadvantaged third level students to assist with remote learning.

A fund for student devices worth €15 million was part of a €168 million package for further and higher education sectors to deal with the impacts of COVID-19.

This funding has already allowed higher education institutions and further education institutions place a bulk order of 16,700 devices for students across third level; further devices are also being procured individually by some institutions.

Speaking at the announcement, Minister Harris commented,

"COVID-19 has disrupted many aspects of our lives. For students in third level, it has resulted in a changed college experience. This new academic year will mean many students will be attending courses online and will need access to devices. This investment will allow us to help 16,700 students access laptops and will ensure they can keep up to date with their studies. It will also go some way to bridging the digital divide, support students and ensure equality of access to education."

DkIT has been awarded €257,965 of the funding to operate a means-tested laptop loan scheme. The laptops will be loaned to students during the academic year in order to facilitate their academic work.

Details on how eligible students can apply for the new laptop loan scheme will be provided as part of the induction programme for registered students in mid-September. Students who have concerns in this regards are asked to inform their lecturers via email as soon as possible.

Welcoming the funding announcement, Linda Murphy, Academic Administration & Student Affairs Manager, said that the scheme is directly addressing the digital divide that became apparent across third level education since we pivoted to remote learning in March.

"DkIT has an strong reputation for providing student-centred learning that is designed to support our students to reach their full potential. In spite of the challenges presented by COVID-19, we are committed to ensuring that our students do not face any academic disadvantage as result of the necessary changes to programme delivery. This scheme is part of an overall €168 million funding package which enables our institute to put in place increasing digital supports and student services to support those students most in need, as we enter the new academic year. Access to a laptop device will vitally assist our students' educational journey through third level."

The institute also offers support to students in need through to Student Assistance Fund. If students meet the eligibility requirements for SAF and are having difficulty funding internet connectivity they can apply to the fund for financial support. Application forms for the Student Assistance Fund will be available from the beginning of October.

The grant funding for the devices will be provided to higher education institutions through the Higher Education Authority (HEA). The bulk order of laptops was organised by HEAnet, which provides internet connectivity and ICT services to education bodies throughout Ireland.

For more information on this announcement, please click here.

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