Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris has announced a once-off Covid-19 payment scheme for third-level students.

Funding worth €50m, which was announced as part of Budget 2021, will offer financial assistance to all EU full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students in recognition of the upheaval they have experienced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson for Mr Harris said the scheme will ensure students who avail of the SUSI grant will receive a €250 top-up in their grant before Christmas.

Students who do not avail of the grant can reduce by €250 any outstanding contribution fee payment or receive a €250 credit note for their institution.

Elsewhere, unions representing teachers and special needs assistants appeared before the Oireachtas Education Committee today.

The INTO primary school union told the committee that school staff must be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available.