Conor Shields spoke to the people at the front of the fight.
A DIT photography student is fighting for the creation of a scholarship programme which would allow those living in direct provision to bypass third-level fees within DIT.
Deirdre Wray, who is currently in her final year of her course, has spent the last summer trying to form a working group within the college which would lobby the institute’s various schools of study into funding the programme.
“It’s in its very early stages. The aim is, for next September, that one asylum seeker will have a scholarship,” explained Deirdre.
Asylum seekers, who are currently living in Ireland, are considered to be non-EU students and therefore must pay international fees.
According to DIT’s website, international fees for Undergraduate programmes can cost anywhere between €9,650 and €12,500 per year. A level 8 degree in Human Nutrition & Dietetics can set a non-EU student back €19,886 a year, according to DIT’s website.
Deirdre explained that through volunteering programmes, she has met with asylum seekers and has enquired into which courses are the most sought after.
“It’s mainly Business and Science courses. Like there are a few other people who’d like to do something else, but it’s mainly those two,” said Deirdre.
DITSU’s VP for Education, Pierre Yimbog, has been helping Deirdre in establishing this scholarship programme.
“Since it’s already a policy of the Student’s Union that we should lobby the Government to create more provisions for asylum seekers so that they can access third level education, we believe this programme should start here, start in the college and build from there”, said Mr Yimbog.
When asked about funding for the scholarship, Mr Yimbog explained that the best approach would be to lobby the relevant schools within DIT to include the scholarship fees within their yearly budget.
“If they [DIT] can’t cover it all, we have to possibly start fundraising in order to cover the balance,” added Mr Yimbog.
DCU and UL have began rolling out similar scholarship programmes, aimed towards those living in direct provision, following the decision to designate each college as a University of Sanctuary.
Mr Yimbog believes that DIT should receive a similar designation due to the “massive cohort of international students” who are currently studying there.
It’s understood that a motion will be put forward at the first DIT student council meeting which will take place on October 11th.