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New Third-Level Access Supports Announced

By Tyler Phillips

This month, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris launched a new initiative, “Programme for Access to Higher Education” (Path), aimed to increase supports for students with autism and intellectual disabilities access third level education.

The Path initiative will aim to:

The initiative will form part of the National Access Plan and allocate €3 million per year until 2025 to higher education institutions. The funding will be ring-fenced to allow institutions to implement universal design and inclusive practices on campuses across Ireland and provide opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities in higher education.

This year’s fund will be focused on universal design and inclusive practices on campuses, such as, wayfinding apps, signage, and sensory rooms. The funding may also be used to provide training and professional development for staff, as well as making services available at times which suit student needs.

In addition to this year’s funding, a competitive funding call will take place later this year. The call will be issued to colleges seeking 3-year pathfinding pilot programmes which will support students with intellectual disabilities. Approved programmes or courses will be rolled out over a 3-year period starting in 2023.

The Department for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science hopes the new fund will highlight inclusion as one of its core strategic goals and that access to higher education is provided to all and reflects the diversity of our population. This means recognising the requirements of vulnerable students and people who have additional needs.

For more information on supports, click here.

Alternatively, if you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team on (01) 415 12 85 or e-mail [email protected].