Tuesday 21 May 2019

People with disability now more likely to go to college

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Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

There has been significant growth in the number of students with disabilities, including those with a mental health condition or autism, going to third-level education.

In 2016/17, 10pc (4,482) of new entrants to college had a disability, compared with 6pc in 2012/13 and 4pc in 2007/08.

The data has been collated by the Higher Education Authority for the mid-term review of the National Access Strategy 2015-19, which set goals for increased participation in third-level from under-represented groups. The Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD), which supports college services for such students, has been a key factor in boosting their participation.

About 12,000 students are currently supported by the FSD, up from 3,800 a decade ago, and 250 in 1998.

The DARE scheme, which offers places on reduced points to school-leavers who, as a result of having a disability, an ongoing medical condition, or a learning difficulty, have experienced additional educational challenges, is also credited with widening access.

Irish Independent

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