DCU has launched a new DCU Covid-19 Student Emergency Fund in response to the challenges and financial hardship facing students due to the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Leading communications services company, BT Ireland, has partnered with DCU to match the first €25,000 donated to the fund, meaning that DCU friends and alumni who support the appeal can double the impact of their gift for struggling students.
The University has seen a 183% increase in students seeking help from its Student Assistance Fund since the beginning of the pandemic, when compared with the same period last year.
It also faces significant challenges to maintain the provision of privately funded scholarships for over 1,100 Access students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, as many scholarship supporters also feel the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
The DCU Covid-19 Student Emergency Fund has been established by DCU Educational Trust, the University’s registered charity, and will enable DCU to continue to support students across four priority areas:
- Maintaining Access scholarships for over 1,100 students and responding to increased demand expected next year due to record high levels of unemployment.
- Providing emergency and once-off support to students in serious financial difficulty due to Covid-19.
- Providing technology to ensure that students can pursue much of their learning online, as all universities face a prolonged period of social distancing and substantial delivery of courses online.
- Providing mental health support for vulnerable students.
Speaking on the launch of the fund, Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU, outlined the University’s commitment to support students at this time:
“At DCU, we have a proud tradition of supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds to fulfil their potential in life.
We established Ireland’s first University Access programme in 1990, and we have continued to deliver the largest programme nationally for 30 years now, enabling almost 4,000 Access students to pursue their dream of third level education at DCU.
We know that this crisis is creating significant difficulties for our Access students, and for many other students too, but we are determined that no student should feel unable to pursue or complete their higher education at DCU due to financial hardship caused by Covid-19.”
Joe Quinsey, CEO of DCU Educational Trust highlighted the importance of BT Ireland’s support for the DCU Covid-19 Student Emergency Fund:
“This fund is an important response to the financial plight of students who have seen family incomes decimated, and who have lost the part-time and summer work they rely on to save for next year’s college expenses. We are extremely grateful to BT Ireland for their support for vulnerable students in these challenging times. We hope that their commitment to match the first €25,000 donated will encourage many more DCU friends and alumni to get behind this fund too.”
Speaking on their motivation to support the fund, Shay Walsh, Managing Director of BT Ireland said:
“For over 20 years, investment in education has been a strategic priority for BT in Ireland, and our educational initiatives provide a platform to help people reach their potential. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic will undoubtedly place limits on students who need additional supports to pursue third level education. By contributing to DCU’s Covid-19 Student Emergency Fund, we can remove financial barriers and help more students to overcome social disadvantage and have a brighter future.”
DCU friends and alumni who wish to donate to the DCU Covid-19 Student Emergency Fund should visit www.dcu.ie/covidappeal