Third-level students are to be given free antigen tests on campus, as part of a €9m programme by the Government.
Last week, the Government abandoned plans to subsidise antigen tests - saying many retail outlets had started offering them at a cheaper rate already.
Now higher education institutes will be able to apply to the department for funding to supply antigen tests to students on campus free of charge.
The Department of Further and Higher Education says the fund is being provided to "encourage the use of antigen testing amongst students."
This is based on public health advice in relation to "multigenerational mixing from the Expert Advisory Group on Rapid Testing", it adds.
Higher Education Minister Simon Harris says students have been asking for assistance with the cost of tests.
"The fund is there to buy antigen tests and provide them to students for free, and it's up to institutions how they decide to do that over the coming months.
"In the third level education sector we have used antigen tests for some time and it has been an additional and helpful measure for students and staff.
"I have met with the experts who see benefit in expanding use and I have heard from students who have asked for assistance with the cost.
"I am responding to this with a €9m fund which will be available for all colleges in Ireland to draw down from to provide free antigen tests on college campuses."
He says this fund will also be accompanied by an awareness campaign around antigen tests and their use.
"I hope this will help students, staff and our college communities.
"This is additional measure of protection, to prevent onward transmission. It is about protecting students, our third level sector and the community at large," Minister Harris adds.
Additional reporting: Kacey O'Riordan