Harris to seek €100m in extra funding for third-level sector

Coronavirus: Minister to set out public health regulations for universities and colleges

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris will seek Government approval for over €100 million in additional funding to assist the third-level sector with coronavirus costs.

He is also expected to set out how the public health advice will work in practice for third-level institutions to allow safe operations in the context of Covid-19. The advice is understood to set out a minimum 2m rule for universities and colleges.

Mr Harris has also sought from Government additional money for student support including additional money for devices - such as laptops - and for additional mental health supports for students.

The legislation to establish the new department is expected to be passed by the Oireachtas this week.

The funding being sought, sources say, will not extend to giving money for accumulated deficits or losses beyond those related to Covid-19.

The sector estimates that it is facing a €500 million shortfall between now and the end of next year.

This is linked to a sharp drop in the projected number of international students as well as income losses linked to empty student accommodated and cancelled events.