Rent was the most commonly funded expense for RCSI students accessing the student assistance fund (SAF) in 2020/2021, with overall funding rising by over €35,000 compared with the previous academic year.
Some €59,931 was provided through the SAF in 2020/2021 and €22,978 was allocated in 2019/2020.
The rise of €36,953 was “mainly” pandemic-related, according to a response from RCSI under Freedom of Information (FoI) law.
“A number of applicants reapplied for the SAF during the year as they or their family had lost income due to Covid,” the FoI response stated.
Funded by the Irish Government with assistance from the European Social Fund, the SAF is aimed at “tackling educational disadvantage by providing financial support” to enable students to fully participate in third-level education. The SAF is operated by student services and open to full-time EU students at RCSI.
There were 12 applicants in 2018/2019; 20 in 2019/2020; and 24 in 2020/2021.
While no applicants were rejected in 2018/2019, five were turned down in 2019/2020. However, 22 of the 24 applicants in 2020/2021 were accepted.
In 2020/2021, rent was the most commonly funded expense. Some 39 rent-related payments were made to 35 students from 2018 to 2021. General living expenses and costs accounted for 24 payments, while travel and transport needs were funded 10 times. Childcare and food costs were funded three times each.
The highest amount allocated to one student in 2020/2021 was €6,000, which comprised one payment towards rent and two payments towards living expenses.
RCSI stated that students may also seek financial support from the student hardship fund, which is open to EU and non- EU students. Some €13,901 was provided in 2018/2019 and this figure rose to €28,120 in 2020/2021.