Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd has said while today’s £10m boost for the Student Hardship Fund is welcome, the Economy Minister should urgently bid for more funding to support students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
John O’Dowd said:
“I want to welcome the allocation of £10.4 million to the Student Hardship Fund.
“Over the course of the pandemic I have continuously called on the Economy Minister Diane Dodds to make a financial bid to compensate our hard-pressed students who have been paying for an education which is below their expectations and for rent on properties which they cannot use.
“While today’s allocation is welcome and a step in the right direction, I note that the Finance Minister Conor Murphy has encouraged Executive colleagues once again to make further financial asks over the next few days.
“Given that students have suffered academically, financially and mentally throughout this pandemic, I would call on the Economy Minister to urgently bid for funding to help students with rental costs, tuition fees and broadband costs.
“While increased Hardship Funding will be welcomed by students it is crucially important the department and universities ensure this funding is accessible for students and that students are not subjected to an excessive application process which impedes their access to this much-needed funding.”