More than €16m is to be spent on helping those from disadvantaged groups get access to 3rd level education.
The funding aims to support more than 2,000 students, including at least 200 lone parents.
The Government said today's announcement of €16.5m was intended to break down the barriers of disadvantage.
It will focus on people with disabilities, those from the Travelling community, mature students as well as lone parents and people from ethnic minorities.
Education Minister Richard Bruton said he wanted to make sure every child had the opportunity to fulfil their potential, regardless of their circumstances.
The money will be rolled out over the next three years.