Celebrating a decade of changed lives Bank of Ireland announces 662 third-level scholarships

Bank of Ireland announced today (Monday, 21st December 2009) that it has awarded 87 new scholarships for third level education. Valued at over €1m, these scholarships allow students who face economic, social or physical barriers an opportunity to access third level education.

The Bank also announced that a total of 662 scholarships, ranging in value from €3,000 to €40,000 per annum, have now been awarded by the Bank’s Millennium Scholars Trust. The Trust was established in 2000, providing a fund of €12.5m and was the largest single millennium initiative from either the State or private sources enabling students pursue their dreams of attending college irrespective of age, background or the discipline they wish to study.

At a ceremony to present this year’s 87 scholarships, Richie Boucher, Group Chief Executive, Bank of Ireland, said:

“It is an honour for Bank of Ireland to enable these hundreds of men and women change their lives through a decade of educational opportunity. All of these students have experienced significant obstacles such as social disadvantage, financial hardship or serious disability. However, what they all have in common is the belief that education will provide them with the opportunity to move beyond their current circumstances and create opportunities that were previously only a dream. Already, over half of these students have graduated becoming positive role models for others in their communities, an impact which will be sustained long beyond the life of the programme”.

One of the very first scholarships awarded in 2000 went to Kenneth Kavanagh from Ballymun, then just 18 years of age: “When I was notified that I had been chosen my family and I soon realised that a huge financial burden had been eased. I would describe my time in DCU as the best years of my life and the help the Bank of Ireland gave me over those years was invaluable. I did achieve my goal of a first class honour in my B.Sc in Science Education and since I graduated in 2005 have been working as a secondary school teacher in the Holy Faith in Killester. It is a truly rewarding job and one I am enjoying immensely. It is in this environment that I can encourage the young students who believe that education will provide them with every opportunity to move beyond their present position and I am living proof of that.”

The majority of scholarship applications were from those seeking to enter third level education direct from school. However, 100 scholarships went to mature students, another 100 to existing college students struggling to stay in third level due to funding issues and 70 to people with a disability.

The Trust also made an exceptional provision for talented new emerging artists and over the ten years has enabled students attend such prestigious colleges as Juilliard School in New York and RADA and Goldsmiths College in London. 16% of the 662 scholarships were allocated to students of dance, drama/film, music and the visual arts.

ENDS 21st December 2009


Audrey Nolan
Group Communications
Bank of Ireland
Tel: 01 6043652
E: audrey.nolan@boimail.com

Dermot O’Sullivan
Group Communications
Bank of Ireland
Tel: 01 6044316
E: Dermot.O’Sullivan@boimail.com