Money generated from disciplinary fines imposed on those living in campus accommodation has been donated to the Student Welfare Fund.
UCD Residential Services Manager Richard Brierley presented SU President Gary Redmond and Vice President for Students, Dr Martin Butler with a cheque for €14,000, last Friday 6th November. The money was collected from disciplinary fines imposed in the UCD campus residences throughout the last academic year.
The presentation comes as news of record numbers of applications to the separate Student Assistance Fund was announced. The number of applications received for the Student Assistance Fund has nearly doubled this year, reaching an all-time record in the region of 350. According to UCD Students’ Union Welfare Officer, Scott Ahearn, the spike in applications is due to the current economic climate in tandem with increased advertisement of the fund around campus.
The Student Assistance Fund is a scheme that allocates money annually to students who are under considerable financial pressure, while the Student Welfare Fund considers applications at regular intervals throughout the year to help students who may not qualify for the assistance fund.
To avail of the Student Assistance Fund, a student must go through the process of a means test on their parents’ income, or on their own income if they are over the age of 23. This is the same criteria that local authorities use to issue Higher Education Grants. However, as Ahearn notes, “students already in receipt of a Higher Education Grant are still eligible to apply for the Student Assistance Fund.”
While Ahearn acknowledged that the recession has hit students and their families hard, he also believes that an increased visibility of the fund on campus has had an effect on applications. He stated that “the recession is affecting students quite badly; not only do students themselves have low part-time job prospects, but those dependent on their families would be adversely affected if they have lost their jobs”, before commenting that the increased applications are “also due to the increased advertisement around campus of the fund.”
Ahearn also believes that the Student Assistance Fund presents the SU with the opportunity to “help as many students as possible”, and assures that all successful applications will receive financial assistance.
The original deadline for applications to the Student Assistance Fund was 23rd October, but Ahearn informed The University Observer that students feeling under financial pressure should still contact his office, where he would do his “best to assist them with the available funds.”
Students can apply for the Student Welfare Fund at any time throughout the year, either through their Student Adviser, a Chaplain or in the SU Welfare Office.