Are there staff members available in the institutions to assist students from under-represented groups?
Yes, each third-level institution has an appointed Access and/or Disability Officer as part of their student services. The staff will be intimate with the issues facing students and they will be familiar with the various funding programmes available.
Is there a specific fund for childcare costs?
Some institutions offer childcare supports; however, there is no specific funding programme for childcare costs. Childcare is an eligible expense when applying for the Student Assistance Fund in some institutions; to obtain more details you should contact the Access Officer in your institution.
Is there any hardship funding available for part-time students?
In general, no. However, many colleges have hardship funds that complement the Student Assistance Fund (full-time students only), so if you are experiencing financial difficulties in connection with your participation in a part-time programme, do speak to the appropriate member of staff in the college.
For the unemployed, remember that you can attend part-time day/evening courses of education or training, and still retain your Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit. To qualify you must continue to satisfy the conditions of being available for and genuinely seeking employment on an ongoing basis.