Additional payments to university students from lower income households have been welcomed by SDLP higher education spokesperson Sinead McLaughlin.
The Foyle MLA said: “The SDLP has led the campaign for financial support for students who have been hit by the double whammy of a university experience far below their expectations because of the Covid pandemic, plus the absence of jobs during the lockdown to help them meet their living costs.
“Our petition to the Assembly led to £500 payments to higher education students, which we said was not enough. These latest additional £495 payments to students from below average income households is therefore very welcome.
“Despite this, I appeal to incoming economy minister Paul Frew to look again at these financial support arrangements for students. They still leave many students without help. This includes Northern Ireland students who are studying in Great Britain or the South of Ireland, as well as part time post-graduate and international students - many of whom are now in severe financial difficulty. Minister Frew should look again at this and provide assistance to those students who are outside support arrangements.”