NUIG and GMIT will receive more than €1 million for infrastructure and services supporting students with disabilities and mental-health difficulties.
The funding from the Department of Education is to help make the campuses at both institutes more inclusive and accessible for students who require additional supports.
A total of €518,071 will be invested in six related areas at GMIT, including the development of a student-centred occupational therapy service, and the instalment of two autism-friendly support pods.
GMIT also intends to employ mental health and wellbeing support coordinators, and hire an access and disability service data analyst for a period of nine months, and the purchase of required equipment, licences and training.
NUIG is receiving €506,532, which it intends to spend in five areas including modifications to make the campus more accessible for students with physical disabilities, the development of a sensory space, and strategies to promote positive mental health at the university.
Galway West TD and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton welcomed the funding, saying that “modest changes” would make a huge difference to students.
“Even small changes can have a massive impact on a student’s experience and engagement in higher education, and these initiatives have the potential to make more possible for those who need them,” she said.
“The funding will allow services and facilities to be put in place to support those who would benefit from them now, and ensure that they’re in place for students who may need them in the future.
Minister Naughton said that no-one should be prevented from reaching the “pinnacle” of their academic potential for any reason.
These measures are intended to break down a few more barriers so that our colleges and universities are open, accessible and inclusive, and I thank Minister Harris for considering our local institutes so favourably in the context of this scheme.”