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Check out financial supports available

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

The financial burden on students and adults who are planning to or are already attending college is a huge source of stress in many households.

While the investment in education provides long term benefits, in the short and medium term the financial pressure can be felt by parents, guardians, partners and families. The cost of fees, accommodation, living expenses, and travel are substantial, so it is important to check out the various financial supports that are available to those embarking on college courses at any age and stage.

Grants

SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) is Ireland’s single national awarding authority for all higher and further education grants. SUSI offers funding to eligible students in approved full-time third-level education in Ireland and also, in some cases, funding for students studying outside of Ireland. Support is available to all types of students, from school leavers to mature students returning to education. The priority date for new applicants to SUSI is tomorrow (July 8) and while you can still apply for funding after these dates, students who submit their application by this date will receive priority processing in autumn. All details and guides to filling out the application can be found on www.susi.ie.

Back to Education Allowance

The BTEA is a scheme for unemployed people, lone parents and people with disabilities who are getting certain payments from the Department of Social Protection. The allowance can be paid to people who wish to pursue approved second or third level courses of education. BTEA is not an unemployment payment and is paid instead of the Social Welfare Payment. For details see www.gov.ie/en/service/418e3f-back-to-education-allowance/.

Scholarships and Bursaries

There are numerous scholarships and bursaries available to support students. The Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) will have details of those that are offered through the college themselves, some of which are based on academic performance but many others across areas such as sport, the arts, entrepreneurship, volunteerism etc. There are also bursaries offered by industry partners, companies and organisations that are specific to an area of study, for example engineering, pharmacy, and STEM. Deadlines for applications and eligibility criteria vary so consult the relevant college websites for details.
The 1916 Bursary Fund is provided to students coming from an economically disadvantaged background. Further information on the application process is available from the website or Access office of the institution in which you intend to study.

 

Fund for Students with Disabilities

The Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD) is available through Access offices in the colleges to ensure students with disabilities have the necessary assistance and equipment to enable them to access, fully participate in and successfully complete their chosen course of study.

Student Assistance Fund

The Student Assistance Fund provides financial support to full or part-time students who are experiencing financial difficulties while attending college. Students can apply to help with either temporary or ongoing financial difficulties by contacting the Student Services Office in the college. A range of other bursaries and scholarships are also available from the Department of Education and Skills including the All-Ireland Scholarships and the Third Level Bursary Scheme as well as other organisations. All details can be found on www.hea.ie/funding-governance-performance/funding/student-finance/other-finance-bursaries-scholarships/.

Financial Institutions

Many credit unions offer education loans to members, either for the support of members themselves or for a son or daughter. Banks often provide personal loans or overdrafts to students at preferential rates. 

At Killarney Credit Union, education loan packages are available to members all year around to cater for the needs of members applying for further or higher education and postgraduate studies. Student bursaries to the value of €4,000 are offered to members annually. 

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors and Careers Advisor at www.mycareerplan.ie She can be contacted on info@mycareerplan.ie or via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook on @mycareerplan1.

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Can you talk your way to fitness?

By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness Recently, our team at Activate was talking about the regular check-ins we do with our clients. We try to sit down with each client in person at least once every six months, if not once a quarter, and see how they are doing. If we can’t get them to […]

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By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness

Recently, our team at Activate was talking about the regular check-ins we do with our clients. We try to sit down with each client in person at least once every six months, if not once a quarter, and see how they are doing.

If we can’t get them to sit down with us, we’ll at least touch base via Zoom or phone. Text messages aren’t adequate to really understand how someone is doing and progressing as we help them towards their health goals, so we don’t count those.

What’s interesting is how difficult it can be sometimes to track down and set up a time to catch up with clients. In passing, it’s simple, but those conversations aren’t as focused and usually don’t allow us to get into why someone is or is not seeing the progress they need. So many times it’s something we all know we need to do, but to sit down and have a real conversation with someone about how they are doing can be tough, or even intimidating depending on the situation.

People start with us knowing we want to provide accountability, guidance, education, and motivation to help them accomplish their goals. But, when it comes down to the accountability portion, it can be difficult to want to talk about things that may not be going as planned.

However, when we look back at our most successful clients – those who have accomplished or are accomplishing what they set out to do when they started with us – they are the ones who actually seek us out to sit down and get help. When we ask them about their goals or if they have time, they are excited to catch up and see what they can improve. Or, they are asking us to help even before we reach out to them.

Those clients have not always had it easy either. Post lockdowns there were a lot of people re-orienting their schedule and lives and trying to make sense of what their goals needed to be. I personally had quite a few heavier conversations with people as we stepped through a plan to “reset” and get into a habit that fit their adjusted goals and schedules. Without those conversations, we may not have been able to help people as much as we are able to (thankfully).

ACCOUNTABILITY

For every area of your life; family, marriage, friendships, work; having accountability, a source of quality guidance, and motivation is as absolute must if you want to improve or progress. We can do some things alone, but we can do most of those things far better with others who have been there before or who can walk with us as we step through our journey towards our goals.

If you are looking to improve at anything in life, be it professionally, or with your health and fitness, the first step is to acknowledge where you are and then seek out a trusted source of information to help you clarify and align the moving parts to ensure you can get to where you want in the timeframe you want.

It’s why we start every member at Activate with a free consultation and why we continue to talk to our members. If we don’t know where you want to go, how can we help you get there? “Going to a gym” is fantastic and will be of huge benefit to your health, going to a gym that is invested in your journey multiplies this power exponentially.

So, no, you can’t “talk your way to fitness”, it takes many hours of work and consistency, but starting your journey with a good honest talk and someone in “your corner” will ensure you start – and continue – in the right direction.

To have a chat about your health and fitness goals, visit www.activate.ie and find out more.

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Former footballer to launch new book

By Sean Moriarty Former Senior Kerry footballer and ‘Dancing with the Stars’ winner Aidan O’Mahony will be in Eason on Saturday to sign copies of his new book. The Rathmore man enjoyed a distinguished career in the green and gold jersey, making 70 championship and 85 league appearances for Kerry between 2003 and 2017. In January 2017, […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Former Senior Kerry footballer and ‘Dancing with the Stars’ winner Aidan O’Mahony will be in Eason on Saturday to sign copies of his new book.

The Rathmore man enjoyed a distinguished career in the green and gold jersey, making 70 championship and 85 league appearances for Kerry between 2003 and 2017.

In January 2017, O’Mahony won the RTÉ ‘Dancing with the Stars’ series with professional dancer, Estonian Valeria Milova.

His new book ‘Unbroken’ is an account of the discipline it takes to be part of one of the country’s most successful Gaelic football teams. It is also a story of managing external and internal expectations and pressure, and of the importance of knowing when to ask for help.

“I am really looking forward to meeting everyone next Saturday, great to finally release my book and I hope people enjoy it,” he told Killarney Advertiser.

O’Mahony’s Killarney book signing will be the first of many around the country in the run up to Christmas.

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