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Paul Flynn, Laura Horan and Jonny Cooper launch DCU Access Telethon 2017Dublin football stars Paul Flynn and Jonny Cooper have joined with the DCU Educational Trust to call on DCU alumni to share the life-changing gift of education with DCU Access students during its upcoming Access Telethon from 22nd May to 10th June. The DCU Access programme is Ireland’s oldest and largest university access programme, which this year celebrated helping over 3,000 students to attend university since the programme was first established in 1990.

The DCU Access programme makes third level education attainable to students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds and supports them to succeed in their studies by providing a range of supports that include an annual scholarship, an orientation week before university begins, additional tuition, personal development workshops, one-to-one mentoring and health and counselling services. There are currently 1,285 Access students enrolled at DCU while 3,037 students have been supported by the programme since 1990.

Speaking in advance of the telethon, Nathalie Walker, CEO of DCU Educational Trust said, “Figures from the Higher Education Authority have shown that geography can have a dramatic impact on the likelihood that a student will attend university, with 99% of students in Dublin 6 progressing to third level education compared with 15% in Dublin 17 and 16% in Dublin 10. The support of our alumni and friends for the Access Scholarship Programme is critical in enabling us to narrow this gap in terms of participation in third level education.

“We also know that once here at DCU, Access students really do excel and often outperform their peers with 93% completing their studies and 53% going on to Master’s level study or higher,” Ms Walker continued.

Speaking at the telethon launch Dublin footballer Paul Flynn, who is also a DCU graduate, outlined his reasons for supporting the telethon campaign, “DCU Access Scholarships support talented young people to fulfil their potential in life – no matter who they are or where they come from. As a former sports scholarship recipient during my time at DCU, I understand the powerful impact which somebody believing in you and investing in your potential can have on your confidence and drive to succeed.”

Dublin footballer Jonny Cooper, who works with DCU as a Schools Liaison Officer, understands the importance of programmes like Access in communities where attending third level education isn’t the norm as he explained, “In my current role, I visit schools in many communities where young people might feel that a university education is out of their reach. Our Access programme does great work in encouraging young people from these communities to not only apply to attend university but also to succeed in their studies once here.”

Also lending her voice to the upcoming telethon campaign, is DCU final year Journalism student Laura Horan who came to public attention last year for her powerful video for the Peter McVerry Trust on the moment she realised she was homeless.

Speaking at the launch, Laura outlined the impact which the DCU Access programme has had on her life, “The Access programme gave me the option to go to college and to be the same as anybody else. It showed me that I could be as good as anybody else. I always wanted to do something better with my life but I just didn’t know how I could afford university until my guidance counsellor told me about the Access programme.

“I was the first person in my family to go to university so the extra supports from the Access programme really helped me to settle in. At our Access orientation week, I made friends and it helped me to understand that other people were in the same position as me. Having the Access staff there to give advice and extra support if I needed it was also critical.”

DCU alumni and friends who would like to support the Access Scholarship Programme can register to receive more information during the upcoming telethon or donate today by visiting