By Paddy Henry
An initiative by NUI Galway to provide laptops on lease to students from low income households has
proven to be successful, with over 600 students having their applications accepted.
The scheme, which opened in September is run through the NUI Galway’s Access Centre and is part of the package of Covid 19 supports for higher and further education institutions, with funding
provided by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science to
support disadvantaged students in the higher education sector in accessing ICT devices.
The scheme was open to all undergraduate, postgraduate and part time students in NUI Galway.
Those who reached the eligibility criteria received a device on a long term loan for the duration of their studies.
Distribution of the laptops, complicated by Covid 19 restrictions, was carried out by the Chaplaincy team and James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway.
Eligibility for the innovative scheme was prioritised on a needs basis. Students from low income
households and the identified target groups who demonstrated that they or their family do not have
the means to purchase such a device themselves qualified to apply for the scheme.
One student who was successful in their application spoke of the importance of the scheme to students from low income backgrounds, telling SIN “It was really great to have my application accepted. I was struggling to get my college work done on a tablet before this and it was really stressful for me. This will make my life a whole lot easier andwill really alleviate the burden on me for the remainder of my degree. Schemes like this really help those from less fortunate backgrounds like myself and are a really invaluable asset.
”Imelda Byrne, Head of the Access Centre at NUI Galway reiterated the student’s sentiments.
“This scheme is of huge benefit to our most disadvantaged students. This year in particular, when it
has been necessary to move learning online, the purchasing of laptops could potentially be a major
stumbling block for those in low income households, this scheme is easing that burden for many
students. So many of the students were overjoyed when collecting their laptops”, she said.
The scheme is now into its second phase which began at the beginning of the month. Information on
the scheme itself the criteria and the application process itself is available on the NUI Galway