Thousands of students in Northern Ireland to receive £495 Covid-19 disruption bursary
Thousands of students in Northern Ireland are to receive an additional payment of £495 for disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 9,000 students who attend Queen's University and Ulster University are to receive the payment which is on top of a £500 payment which was made by the Stormont Executive to around 40,000 students across Northern Ireland.
However, part-time and non-EU students in the north were not eligible for the £500 payment, nor were students from Northern Ireland taking degree courses elsewhere.
An additional £10m was later provided by the Executive to support students facing hardship due to the pandemic.
As a result, Queen's University Belfast (QUB) and Ulster University (UU) are now making additional payments of £495 to a number of students.
At UU, 5,467 students are receiving an additional Covid-19 bursary of £495.
The university said eligible students were being contacted directly by the university.
"A Covid-19 bursary of £495 is now being issued to eligible students whose household income is lower than the Northern Ireland median," the university said.
"This payment is made possible by the Department for the Economy's financial support package in recognition of the significant challenges faced by university students during the pandemic."
QUB has identified 3,669 students eligible for the additional £495 bursary.
As with UU, the payment will be made to those whose household income - based on information held by the Student Loans Company - is lower than the median household income in Northern Ireland.
Sinn Féin assembly member John O'Dowd said the £495 bursary would come as a "huge relief to those students who will receive the much-needed funds".
"The Minister must intervene and support all students," he said.