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Minister Harris reveals new €4.5 million fund to support regional campuses

Minister Harris reveals new €4.5 million fund to support regional campuses

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today announced €4.5 million to support higher education institutions that have multiple campuses in remote regional locations.

The new Distributed Campus Support Fund has been established to support higher education institutions (HEIs) with multi-campuses in our regions, primarily in the Technological University sector.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said:

“This new funding strengthens and supports campuses dispersed in our regions.

“This ensures that HEIs that have multiple campuses can boost and maximise the impact of their campuses in the regions.

“Dispersed campuses often have higher costs associated with delivering education. This funding ensures that regional higher education campuses like those in Thurles or Killybegs are supported in recognition of the fact they are regionally dispersed.

“With this extra investment we are guaranteeing that the same level and quality of education and service is being provided in regional campuses as anywhere else.

“Crucially this new funding delivers more balanced regional development, a key Government objective, with high quality and state of the art campuses.

“It shouldn’t be that all roads lead to the big city when it comes to education.

“The actions I am taking with my Department commit to the delivery of an excellent level of education across Ireland.

“Our higher education institutions are drivers of regional and economic development.

“This new fund will be key to supporting our institutions and sustaining their dispersed campuses, helping them to deliver on their mandates to develop knowledge and skills, promote innovation and collaboration, and to foster social inclusion across the regions.”

The funding will be distributed to relevant HEIs. This provides HEIs with the flexibility to determine how best sustainability can be secured across their campuses, taking advantage of the strengths of individual campuses.

Dispersed campuses have unique circumstances and higher costs associated with the delivery of education. It is recognised that there are unavoidable additional fixed costs in operating such campuses.

These costs include:

  • the cost of the delivery of core campus services across multiple sites;
  • travel costs between campuses; and
  • unique demographic profiles that can result in smaller classes and lower staff student ratios than is the case in larger population centres.

Financial challenges faced by institutions have been identified as an issue over many years. These campuses provide an important function for the delivery of education within their regions.

While multiple campuses were a feature of some Institutes of Technology, the multi-campus approach is now a defining characteristic of the new Technological Universities. It is seen as fundamental to the delivery of the regional mission of our Technological Universities.

The Minister also announced the creation of a new Strategic Support Fund of €1.2m. This is a continuation of an existing support fund which can be deployed to support vulnerable institutions.


The new Distributed Campus Support Fund will be targeted at those higher education institutions (HEIs) that meet the eligibility criteria for funding.

Eligibility Criteria

a) The Institution must have multiple campuses with teaching activity associated with delivery of courses at National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) levels 6 – 10.

b) The distance between campuses must be at least 45km.

c) The Institution is not already in receipt of ring-fenced funding for related purposes.

d) Teaching facilities in Hospitals are excluded from this initiative.

The new fund will remain under review in the context of the evolving higher education landscape and the potential for further rationalisation and incorporations.

The allocation of the €4.5m Distributed Campus Support Fund is set out in the table below:

Atlantic Technological University€2,660,000
Munster Technological University€230,000
Technological University of the Shannon€690,000
South East Technological University€460,000
University of Galway€230,000
Mary Immaculate College€230,000