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More than 70 Students benefit from 2017 Leaders LIT Student Scholarship Programme 2017

More than 70 Students benefit from 2017 Leaders LIT Student Scholarship Programme 2017 – Pictured at the event were, Former Munster and Irish International Rugby Player Paul OConnell, fourth-year student Donogh Flannery, Sports Strength and Conditioning at LITOs Thurles Campus and is sponsored by BHP Laboratories, fourth-year student Nicole Dundon, Law and Taxation sponsored by Grant Thornton and Prof. Vincent Cunnane, President LIT.

More than 70 Students benefit from 2017 Leaders LIT Student Scholarship Programme 2017

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Jordan Mac Cormaic

More than 70 recipients of the 2017 Leaders LIT Student Scholarship Programme 2017, along with the 34 donors who have contributed €750,000 to the scholarship fund to date, were recognised at a special ceremony in Limerick Institute of Technology, today, Monday, December 4, 2017.

The LIT Student Scholarship Programme 2017 aims to alleviate the strain of financial difficulties experienced by targeted student cohorts, and so allow the recipients to concentrate fully on their education and finish their course of study.

The Student Scholarship programme began as a pilot in early 2014, and since then is providing support to students from economically disadvantaged areas in Limerick, Tipperary and Clare.

Former Munster and Irish International Rugby Player Paul O’Connell, who is a keen supporter of the programme for the last four years, was guest speaker at this year’s awards’ ceremony.

“Education is an incredibly valuable thing in life. Programmes like [email protected]’s have such an important role in allowing people to reach their potential, and I am delighted that such an imaginative and forward-looking initiative is being taken here in Limerick,” he told the crowd gathered in the Millennium Theatre, LIT.

Professor Vincent Cunnane, President of LIT said, “The student scholarship programme makes a meaningful difference to the lives of students who really need it.  I am proud to work in LIT with its ethos of inclusiveness and track record of achievement.  There are 70 people studying in LIT today who may not otherwise have been in Higher Education if not for these scholarships.  This is very much what we are about – making Higher Education as accessible as possible. This benefits individuals, their families and communities, and the region.”

While a significant amount of funding has been donated by LIT’s Alumni and businesses associated with the third level college, the majority of the €750,00 donations and pledges received are from companies and individuals with no previous link or association with LIT.

Dr Liam Brown, Vice President Research, Development, Innovation, LIT said, “This initiative resonates very strongly with all donors. Its success is linked to the hugely positive impact it has on the lives of the scholarship students, their family and friends, many of whom are the first in their family to attend third level education.”

“The most common feedback from our scholarship students is they never thought someone would believe in them enough to ink a cheque to sponsor them over four years in college, and that in itself motivates our students to succeed.”

Fourth-year student Nicole Dundon from Limerick is one such motivated student.

Addressing those attending the awards she said, “My sponsor is Grant Thornton and it’s actually amazing how much the scholarship has helped me. I was the only one in my class in first year without the necessary materials, so I was falling behind and didn’t want to continue anymore, and then I was awarded the scholarship. Being able to set myself up and get my books and get on without the stress of worrying about money and focus on my studies was such a relief. I am in my fourth year now and I wouldn’t be here without being awarded the scholarship and I am so grateful.”

[email protected] Student Scholarship sponsor Gearoid Costelloe, Grant Thornton added, “Being associated with this extremely positive initiative is both personally rewarding and an inspiration to our entire organization. It is a privilege and honour to help smooth the pathway to educational success and helping others to achieve their true potential and help launch their future careers.”

Linda Barry, Student Affairs Manager said LIT is proud of LIT’s record in widening participation to higher education.

“We recognise that successfully increasing participation also requires that students progress in their studies and move into employment. To this end, the students’ progress is monitored and they are offered mentoring and guidance to optimise their success which in turn validates the programme to the sponsoring companies,” she said.

 Young Mum Michelle Moloney is past pupil of Salesian’s Secondary School, Limerick, and is now a third-year student studying Social Care at LIT, with the support of the [email protected] scholarship.

“Being a parent and going back to college as a mature student had many challenges. Worrying about both the academic and financial side was daunting. The scholarship has relieved me from the financial burden of college and allowed me to put all my energy into my studies. I will be eternally grateful for the support I received from Bank of Ireland and LIT. I am now in my third year of college, the scholarship programme gives the encouragement to keep working hard.”

LIT is a registered charity and donating companies and individuals can avail of tax relief at a company level (12.5%) or personal level (31%). Donations to the [email protected] Student scholarships programme are invited and welcome at all levels including direct support for a student or students as well as contributing to a pool which together with other contributions will support a student.

Arrangements can also be made for monthly contributions where required. In the case of individual donations, the individual donates the net amount and LIT reclaims the tax direct from Revenue. In general terms, the minimum eligible donation which is necessary in order to qualify for tax relief in Ireland is €250 per annum.

Donating companies can request that selected students participate in internship opportunities with them during vacation periods, or as an integral part of study if the curriculum allows. Donating companies are also encouraged to use the profile opportunity of the tagline “We support the [email protected] student scholarships”.

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.