Wednesday, 5 April 2017
Department of Education and Skills
Student Grant Scheme
163. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the restoration of postgraduate grants and their necessity to open up access to postgraduate studies and to ensure that a steady stream of persons achieve a postgraduate qualification for societal good and to ensure attractiveness to foreign investors. [16865/17]
The Deputy will be aware of the Action Plan for Education commitment to increase financial supports for postgraduate students with a particular focus on those from low income households.
In response to this commitment, I secured additional funding of €4 million in Budget 2017 to facilitate the reinstatement of full maintenance grants, from September 2017, for the most disadvantaged postgraduate students. This will benefit approximately 1,100 post graduate students who meet the eligibility criteria for the special rate of maintenance grant.
The Student Grant Scheme is now open for applications for the 2017/18 academic year. This earlier opening date will facilitate earlier decisions for students on their grant applications and therefore provide students with greater certainty about the financial support that will be available to them.
In addition to this specific measure targeted at postgraduate students, I also secured an additional €4.5 million in Budget 2017 for other new access measures that will benefit target groups such as lone parents, travellers, mature students, and students with disabilities.
The new measures being introduced as a result of Budget 2017 will complement the existing student supports that are already in place. In total my Department will invest approximately €450 million in access supports in the 2017/18 academic year. This will benefit approximately 80,000 disadvantaged students through the student grant scheme. Other measures include the Student Assistance Fund and the Fund for Students with Disabilities.