Third Level Access is co-funded by the Department of Education and Skills and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020
The Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD) provides funding to higher and further education institutions to provide supports and services to ensure that eligible learners with disabilities can participate on an equal basis with their peers. The Fund has been in place since 1994 and since 2003 has been managed by the HEA on behalf of the Department of Education & Skills. The Fund operates in addition to the legal framework supporting the rights of students with disabilities to access further and higher education. The FSD also operates in addition to mainstream resources and services in place in higher education institutions.
Purpose of the Fund for Students with Disabilities
The purpose of the FSD is to provide resources to further and higher education institutions for the delivery of key service and supports for learners with disabilities on full time courses. The Fund aims to support the personal, educational and professional development of the participating learner and contribute to the achievement of their full potential.
The 2017 FSD review recommends extension of the FSD supports to learners on part-time courses. Under the 2018 allocation institutions are invited to begin preparations for inclusion of learners on part-time courses under the fund and may use their allocations to assist students on part-time courses on a pilot phased approach.
Who is eligible for support under the Fund?
To be eligible for support under the ESF Fund for Students with Disabilities, a learner must meet the following conditions:
Funding can be used to provide supports and accommodations in any of the following categories:
a. Assistive technology equipment and software;
b. Non-Medical Helpers (e.g. Personal assistance, Notetakers)
c. Academic/learning support
d. Deaf supports (Sign Language Interpreters, Speedtext)
e. Transport support
f. In 2018 supports provided on a pilot basis to include learners on part-time courses
Disclosure of Need
The initial decision around disclosure rests with the individual. Where a student discloses to the college, they should be advised per the provisions of the Data Protection Acts 2003- 2018, as to any relevant third-party dissemination and should be requested to expressly consent or dissent to same in writing.
Assessment of Need
The assessment of need document must be completed for each student included in the FSD Return and should be maintained by the institution for verification and audit by the HEA.
The Assessment of Need is the source document that determines the supports and accommodations that will be requested on the student’s behalf. Students’ participation in the assessment process is essential. It should be noted however that the document is a college document and the college is ultimately responsible for decisions on the most appropriate support plan to meet the needs of the student.
To arrange an appointment with the Disability Support Services please email: firstname.lastname@example.org