Ireland’s first third-level e-learning college, Hibernia College, has embarked on a business expansion scheme (BES) round, seeking some €750,000.
The BES round, which functions as a tax incentive for investors and is otherwise known as a “friends and family” round, will be used to deliver on existing contracts, develop course content and cover costs in the first two academic years as it grows student numbers.
Maximum individual investments of up to €31,743 can be made in ordinary shares in the college, whilst minimum investments of €3,000 are being called for in the round.
The college has already raised €688,000 to meet current establishment costs as well as grant support from Enterprise Ireland.
BES schemes enable investors to enjoy income tax relief of 42pc for top rate tax payers, and investors in the current round can choose to have the relief given in the tax year to 31st December, 2002.
Hibernia will offer Ireland’s first third-level online college courses providing web-based bachelors and masters degrees. Every course undergoes international peer reviews, as well as evaluation by the Higher Education Training and Awards Council (HETAC).
The college has its own Proprietary Learning Management System known as HELMS, which the college markets to other online education providers. The college currently provides bachelors and masters degrees in criminal justice, public administration and hospitality management and will be moving to add psychology and humanities to the curriculum.
By John Kennedy