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

-Special Guest Speaker, Former Munster and Irish International Rugby Player, Paul O’Connell and the 34 donors who contributed €750,000 to the scholarship fund, show their support at a special awards ceremony at LIT.

More than 70 recipients of the 2017 Leaders@LIT Student Scholarship Programme, 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, December 4, 2017.

The LIT student scholarship 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.

Special Guest Speaker, Former Munster and Irish International Rugby Player, Paul O’Connell and the 34 donors who contributed €750,000 to the scholarship fund, show their support at a special awards ceremony at LIT today.
Special Guest Speaker, Former Munster and Irish International Rugby Player, Paul O’Connell and the 34 donors who contributed €750,000 to the scholarship fund, show their support at a special awards ceremony at LIT.

​​The 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 Leaders@LIT’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 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 if 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.”

Leaders@LIT 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 organisation. It is a privilege and honour to help smooth the pathway for 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 Leaders@LIT 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.”

Fourth year student Donogh Flannery is studying Sports Strength and Conditioning at LIT’s Thurles Campus and is sponsored by BHP Laboratories. This past pupil of St. Nessan’s Community College, now Thomond Community College, said,

“I was working in Dunnes and going to college full time, and I still wasn’t able to pay all the bills. The scholarship meant I did not have to get more working hours from Dunnes, and allowed me to concentrate on my studies. Without this support I would not have been able to continue in college.”

For LIT student Eugene Woodland receiving the scholarship means a lot more than the financial support.

“It’s about the people involved in setting the scholarships up, the sponsors of the scholarship and L.I.T. Take pride in the fact that you are the elite that get to third level college and have people willing to support you and your goals. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to get this scholarship from Sean and Linda Shine plus the continued support from everyone in LIT."

Evan Lane is a student who is also making full use of his scholarship.

“The scholarship means so much to me; it has been such an amazing help to me in so many ways. It has brought me such relief and reduced my stress levels immensely. It really helps to know I have the full support of my sponsor, WP Engine and LIT behind me, being there encouraging me to achieve my goals in college and giving me a head start on my career path. I feel even more motivated than ever to do my best and take in all that I can while I’m in college. It has changed my life for the better and opened up more opportunities for me than I could have imagined,” he said.​​

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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 Leaders@LIT 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 tag line "We support the Leaders@LIT student scholarships". ​​​​​​​​

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