by Kate Heaney
ATLANTIC Technological University Donegal is set to receive €1.2 million to maintain and upgrade buildings in Letterkenny and Killybegs and the upgrading of IT systems.
The funding is part of a €4 million package which will be shared between the ATU campuses in Galway, Sligo and Donegal.
Speaking to the Donegal News, Henry McGarvey VP for Finance and Corporate services at ATU explained that the €4 plus million is a slight increase on the previous devolved grant which comes from the Higher Education Authority.
A total of €40 million will to be shared by 16 of the country’s third level institutions.
“This is a recurring grant we receive most years and this year is a small increase on the previous. ATU in Donegal will get €1.2 million and it is used to do all of the maintenance, refurbishment, health and safety and fire prevention work. The older buildings in the Killybegs Campus needs quite a lot of work. A small amount will be used to complete computer equipment. It is not a huge amount of money when shared out by the whole complex but it does keep us going from year to year,” he said.
While Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD, announcing the grants, said the funding could be used for energy efficient measures, Mr McGarvey is of the view separate funding is required for this element.
“We have given feedback to the minister and department that we need this money announced this week just to keep the lights on. If we want to reach the 2030 carbon targets that must be funded separately.
“With some 5,000 students now attending Donegal campuses of ATU, expansion of capacity is required particularly in the nursing building opened in 2004 which has seen student numbers double with more investment required. We have seen a lot of growth but the facilities have not,” Mr McGarvey added.
Meanwhile Donegal ATU students are set to benefit from a €113 million cost of education package.
Minister Harris has announced a raft of funding measures to help reduce the cost of education and put “more money back in people’s pockets”.
In September, ATU Donegal got almost €295,000. In additional payments made this month, ATU Donegal received over €278,000.
The move will be a welcome boost to students locally, who have been “feeling the pinch” due to the cost of living crisis.
Further measures include a reduction in undergraduate fees by €1,000. Any students or families that have paid fees in full will be refunded the difference.
Students – or their families – who have paid the full student contribution of €3,000 are being refunded.
They have been asked to give their bank details to their higher education institution before the end of November to facilitate reimbursement of their €1,000 in December.
If bank details are not provided by the student, a credit will be applied to their account. A €17 million allocation for the Student Assistance Fund has also been announced, which will assist students with books and class materials, rent, childcare, and transport, among other things.