Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd has said the £500 payment for full-time students at universities and further education colleges should be available for all students who are studying full time courses.
John O’Dowd said:
“Sinn Féin is calling on DUP Economy Minister Diane Dodd to bring a proposal to the Executive as soon as possible to support all full-time students studying at further education colleges.
“Yesterday’s announcement that almost 40,000 students will receive a £500 Covid payment was very welcome news and will assist in lifting some of the financial pressure faced by those full-time students who qualify.
“However, full-time students at further education colleges will only receive payment if they are studying a full-time Higher Education Course.
“This is unfair as many full-time further education students have faced disruption to their studies and are unable to secure other financial support just like those students receiving the £500 payment.
“There will be a much higher percentage of students from lower income backgrounds studying Further Education courses and they and their families are in the greatest need of financial support at this time.
“To exclude them from this payment will create a two-tier system within our Further Education colleges and could lead to a reduction in the number of students looking to sign up for these courses.”