Funding worth €250,000 has been announced for an initiative which will allow third level students to spend three months in the Gaeltacht.
Up to 175 students will have the opportunity to live with Gaeltacht families for the three months while attending a third level qualification course for an entire semester.
A subsidy worth €17 per day will be provided, enabling third level institutions to offer a semester in the Gaeltacht to their students.
It will be payable to families who are qualified under the Department's Irish Language Learner's Scheme.
The aid, amounts to a subsidy worth up to €1,428 per student, will be payable to families who provide accommodation.
The initiative is directed towards students who have Irish as a core subject in their University court or those who require a high level of competency in Irish in order to work in professions in the public service, in particular, in which it is critical to ensure engagement with the Irish speaking community through Irish.
The funding was launched today by the Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands Seán Kyne in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, ÓEG, Carna.
"The Gaeltacht areas are the Irish Language's native domain and as a result of this measure up to 175 students a year will have the opportunity to access immersion in Irish – which will be of benefit both to the Irish Language and the Gaeltacht," he said.
"Of course this will also help to further develop the state system's capacity in attending to the extra demands on services that are provided through Irish at present and in the future.
"For many years students learning languages have had the opportunity to spend time immersed in a target language while studying abroad on Erasmus.
"A fund will now be available for the first time which will help students to spend an entire semester in the Gaeltacht," he said.