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Written answers

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Department of Education and Skills

Student Grant Scheme Reform

Photo of Michael CollinsMichael Collins (Cork South West, Independent)
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367. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the cost of restoring SUSI grant rates and thresholds to pre-2011 levels; and the number of estimated additional students that would be eligible under the scheme if grants were restored to these levels. [46336/17]

Photo of Michael CollinsMichael Collins (Cork South West, Independent)
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368. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the cost of increasing SUSI grant thresholds by an additional 10% on top of the pre-2011 threshold if those were to be restored; and the number of estimated additional students that would be eligible under the reformed scheme. [46337/17]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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It is not possible to definitively estimate “the cost of increasing SUSI grant thresholds by an additional 10% on top of the pre-2011 threshold if those were to be restored; and the number of estimated additional students that would be eligible under the reformed scheme”.

To put it in context, in 2010/11 there were 71,532 students who benefitted from grant support at a cost of €355m, whereas in 2016/17 there were 78,904 students in receipt of grant support at a cost of €377m. In the intervening years we have centralised the student grant scheme (replacing four separate schemes and sixty six awarding authorities with one scheme administered by a centralised awarding authority), had a complete turnover of students, income levels have changed and numerous changes have been made to the annual schemes which affect eligibility criteria. Furthermore, increasing the income thresholds by 10% will attract additional students who currently don’t apply to SUSI. There is no way of accurately predicting the number of additional students who might apply if the income thresholds were increased by 10% also, SUSI does not have any income data on such students which might enable some estimate of the likely cost.

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