IT Tralee receive funding to keep doors open

Niamh Quinlan

The emergency funding was provided by the Irish government

Five million euro in emergency funding has been provided to IT Tralee from the government, in order to keep the institution afloat.

The issue is suspected to be mainly due to the fact that the university is overstaffed. In a university of about 2,800 students, there are approximately 350 staff working.

IT Tralee has also experienced a decline in their student population in recent years. In what the Irish Times called, “an independent study” that was done early this year, it was found that the number of full-time students had dropped by more than 15 per cent between the academic years of 2014/2015 and 2017/2018. Despite this drop over the three-year period, the number of full time staff  has remained the same.

IT Tralee and the Higher Education Authority (HEA) have been working in close communication on the financial stability of the institution. It was not stated as to whether the sum of money will need to be repaid to the State.

The university had previously been running on deficits of €1-€2 million per year, a study released in January found. Public accounts showed that in 2016, the institute had overdrawn their accounts by €1.6 million.

The HEA had been monitoring this closely, and this week they and the government approved the emergency funding.

The HEA provides many grants to the universities of Ireland, for buildings and equipment, with the agreements and approvals of the Department of Education and Skills.

It has also been found that the new Kerry Sports Academy, located in the northern campus of IT Tralee, was facing a capital deficit of between €3 million and €4 million. The sports academy opened in May of 2019 and cost €19 million to build.

However, that sum of money came from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport but also donations from philanthropic foundations and individuals.

This week, IT Tralee has also received more funding of €25,000 from the Irish Science Foundation (ISF) to host Kerry Science Week from November 10th-19th. This is a nationwide-initiative taking place in several other counties and will consist of free public activities.

Niamh Quinlan

Image Credit: IT Tralee