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Know Your Rights: Financial supports for students

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The Student Grant Scheme is the main financial support scheme for students but there are other supports available, including:

* The Student Assistance Fund
* The Fund for Students with Disabilities

Student Assistance Fund

The Student Assistance Fund (SAF) provides financial support to full-time or part-time students in higher education who are experiencing financial difficulties. The SAF is available to help students with the following costs:

* Books and class materials
* Rent, heating and lighting bills
* Food
* Essential travel
* Childcare costs for students that are parents
* Medical costs
* Family difficulties, for example bereavement.

The SAF is designed to provide financial support in addition to the student grant. Tuition fees, registration fees, student loan repayments or any costs borne by your college are not covered by the SAF. Universities, Institutes of Technology and other approved colleges participate in the SAF scheme but the SAF is not available to students in further education or post-Leaving Certificate colleges.

Qualifying for the Student Assistance Fund

To qualify for the SAF, you must be a full-time or part-time student in a university, Institute of Technology or other approved college. You must be on a course leading to a higher education award (National Framework of Qualifications Level 6-10).

Rates

Funding amounts vary and will be decided by your college following an assessment process.

How to Apply

Students must apply for the SAF directly to the individual colleges. If you are in financial difficulty you should contact the Access or Student Services section in your college for more information on how to apply for the SAF. It is important to apply for funding as soon as you can. Some colleges have a closing date for applications. You should check with the Access Service or Student Services section of your college to find out when this is.

Your college will advise you on the documentation needed to support your application to the SAF. This may include proof of your own or your parents’ income and receipts for costs such as rent, bills or childcare. Applications are assessed by individual colleges and final decisions on awards may be taken by a small committee, including the Access Officer and Student Welfare Officer.

Fund for Students with Disabilities

The Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD) is one of the main funding sources for students with disabilities. The fund ensures eligible students have the necessary help and equipment so that they can participate on an equal basis with other students. You may be entitled to support under the FSD even if you did not access college through the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE scheme).

The FSD Covers the Following Supports:

* Assistive technology equipment and software
* Non-medical helpers (for example, personal assistants or note takers)
* Academic or learning support
* Deaf supports including Sign Language Interpreters and Speedtext
* Transport support

Participating Colleges

The FSD is available to full-time or part-time students in universities, Institutes of Technology and other colleges, including UK and EU colleges. The FSD is also available to students in further education or Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) colleges. Funding is allocated to the college to support a student’s needs as decided by a Needs Assessment. The college is responsible for managing the funding and has full discretion on how the FSD is allocated.

Qualifying for the Fund for Students with Disabilities

To qualify for the FSD, you must fulfil the following conditions:

* Have a disability in one or more of the categories outlined below
* Meet the nationality and residency criteria outlined below
* Be a full-time or part-time student
* Have a verified need for specific supports in order to attend your chosen course.

Qualifying Disabilities

Disabilities that qualify under the FSD are:

* Autistic Spectrum Disorder
* Attention Deficit Disorder
* Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
* Blind or vision impaired
* Deaf or hard of hearing
* Developmental co-ordination disorder (dyspraxia/dysgraphia)
* Mental health condition (for example bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, clinical depression, severe anxiety, severe phobias, OCD, severe eating disorders and psychosis)
* Neurological condition
* Significant ongoing illness
* Physical or mobility
* Specific learning difficulties (dyslexia or dyscalculia)

Residence

You must have been resident in the State for three of the previous five years before your approved course commences to qualify for support under the FSD. If you do not qualify at the beginning of your course, it is still possible to meet this requirement during the course of your studies. This should be reviewed at the beginning of an academic year.

Nationality and Immigration Status

In order to get the FSD you must be a national of an EEA Member State or Switzerland, or have immigration status or leave to remain. You can read more detail on the nationality and residency criteria.

How to Apply

You cannot apply directly to the FSD, applications should be made on your behalf by your college.
You must register with the Disability Support Services in your college. You will need to show medical verification of your disability (for example, a consultant’s report). The college will then carry out a needs assessment to identify the appropriate supports required. You should contact the student services or disability office in your college for more information.

Other Financial Supports

Other financial supports for students include the Bursary for Care Experienced Young People is available, if you have had care experience of at least six months before your 18th birthday.

The 1916 Bursary Fund provides funding to encourage participation and success by students from disadvantaged backgrounds that are significantly under-represented in higher education.

The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS) runs a number of scholarship schemes including, the Ernest Walton STEM bursary, the Professor William C Campbell Bursary Scheme, the All Ireland Scholarship Scheme and the European University Institute Scheme.

If you need further information you can call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in Kerry on 0818 07 7860. They will be happy to assist you and if necessary arrange an appointment for you. Kerry HELPLINE 0818 07 7860, Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. Alternatively you can email on tralee@citinfo.ie or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie. The National Phone Service is available on 0818 07 4000 Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm.

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Corcoran’s Furniture walk raises €12k for autism charity

Corcoran’s Furniture and Carpets charity walk through the Gap of Dunloe on Saturday raised almost €12,000 for Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland There were 37 participants in the event, which included […]

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Corcoran’s Furniture and Carpets charity walk through the Gap of Dunloe on Saturday raised almost €12,000 for Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland

There were 37 participants in the event, which included AADI families, dogs, and representatives, as well as fundraisers, supporters, and members of the Corcoran’s team. The stars of the day were the three life-changing super-hero dogs, Buzz, Baron and Hank.

Former Kerry Footballer, James O’ Donoghue, was the ambassador for the event
Those taking part left Ross Castle and were treated to a phenomenal boat ride in the expert hands of Diarmuid ‘Dux’ O’Donoghue of Gap of Dunloe Traditional Boat Tours. The O’Donoghue family entertained the entire group with a range of fascinating stories outlining the history of the lakes of Killarney and Killarney National Park.

The group set out from Lord Brandon’s Cottage and walked the 11K through the iconic Gap of Dunloe, with two AADI families and their dogs taking part in the full walk. This was followed by a well-deserved meal and some rest and relaxation at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. Flemings Taxi’s Killarney brought the group back to Ross Castle, Killarney upon completion of the event.

“On behalf of everybody at Corcoran’s Furniture, we would like to thank everybody who participated in our Gap of Dunloe charity event on behalf of AADI,” said Shane O’ Callaghan, Financial Controller atCorcoran’s.

“Collectively we have raised almost €12,000 for this incredible charity and monies are still coming in. We are extremely grateful to all who supported our walk, and also to James O’ Donoghue, Christina Tagney, the Gap of Dunloe Traditional Boat Tours, the fantastic support of Noel Lucey and Donal McCarthy from the Order Of Malta, Killarney branch, and to Killarney National Park, Kate Kearney’s Cottage and Fleming’s Taxi’s. All funds raised will go toward the expert training and maintenance of the upcoming AADI dogs who will make a dramatic difference to so many children with Autism and their families.”

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Summer of song with Grace Foley

Killarney singer Grace Foley is launching a summer series of concerts in Anam House Arts and Cultural Centre on Saturday night. ‘Storyteller’ is a series of intimate, one woman performances […]

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Killarney singer Grace Foley is launching a summer series of concerts in Anam House Arts and Cultural Centre on Saturday night.

‘Storyteller’ is a series of intimate, one woman performances that will be given by Foley during the summer months.

The first of the performances takes place this Saturday 7pm and will feature the songs and stories of well-known singers including Dolly Parton, ABBA, and an array of Irish artists as well as a selection of poems and famous quotes.

“It promises to be a lovely evening,” she said. “This the first of three performances.”

Tickets are €10 and will be available on the night. The performance is approximately one hour long.

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