Written answers

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Department of Education and Science

Higher Education Grants

5:00 am

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick East, Labour)
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Question 65: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she has made progress in addressing the problem of accessing the EU Globalisation Fund for higher education fees for courses that have been undertaken by former workers in companies (details supplied) which will not be completed when the fund runs out; if she will ensure that these persons can be funded to complete their courses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3158/11]

Photo of Seán HaugheySeán Haughey (Minister of State, Department of Education and Science; Minister of State, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; Dublin North Central, Fianna Fail)
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The European Commission Decision of 22 December 2009 awarding a financial contribution from the European Global Adjustment Fund (EGF) to finance active labour market measures following the redundancies in Dell and ancillary enterprises states that Ireland shall use the EGF financial contribution by 28 June 2011. The European Commission is currently reviewing the scope of the current EGF Regulation. In the context, inter alia, of this review, the Department has highlighted to the Commission the type of issues raised in the Deputy's question.

Upon the elapse of the relevant EGF expenditure period beneficiaries may be eligible for support in accordance with the regulations governing the operation of the Department's Free Fees and student support schemes dependent on their individual circumstances. Apart from the Free Fees Initiative the main financial support available to students in higher education is the Maintenance Grant. Students who are entering approved courses are eligible for financial assistance where they satisfy the relevant conditions including those relating to residence, means, age, nationality and previous academic attainment.

Eligibility for grant assistance is a matter for the relevant local authority or VEC to establish in line with the terms of the relevant schemes. Students should apply to their local authority or VEC to establish their eligibility. Detailed information on financial supports for students can be found on the website www.studentfinance.ie. The Department will continue to monitor any relevant developments in this matter in the context in particular of the European Commission review of the EGF Regulation.


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