Written answers

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Department of Education and Skills

Student Universal Support Ireland Administration

Photo of Marcella Corcoran KennedyMarcella Corcoran Kennedy (Offaly, Fine Gael)
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265. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if consideration has been given to amending the eligibility criteria for the special rate of the Student Universal Support Ireland, SUSI, grant; if consideration has been given to awarding the special rate of the SUSI grant to applicants solely based on the family's total reckonable income and not subject to the condition that reckonable household income includes a long-term Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44745/18]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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The Report of the Action Group on Access to Third Level Education made detailed recommendations concerning the introduction of special rates of maintenance grants for disadvantaged students. The target group of "those most in need" was defined in terms of the dependants of people receiving long-term welfare payments, where the necessary conditions are fulfilled.

The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter for SUSI to determine. In assessing an application for the 2018/19 academic year, SUSI will have regard to the following qualifying criteria for the special rate of maintenance grant:

1. The student must qualify for the standard rate of grant;

2. Total reckonable income, after income disregards and Child Dependant Increase(s) are excluded, must not exceed €23,500;3. As at 31st of December 2017, the reckonable income must include one of the eligible long-term social welfare payments prescribed in the Student Grant Scheme.

It is not proposed, at present, to change the current terms and conditions in respect of the special rates of maintenance grant.

In addition to the maintenance grant support, students in third-level institutions experiencing exceptional financial need can apply for support under the Student Assistance Fund. This Fund assists students, in a sensitive and compassionate manner, who might otherwise be unable to continue their third level studies due to their financial circumstances. Details of this fund are available from the Access Office in the institution attended.

Tax relief at the standard rate of tax may be claimed in respect of tuition fees paid for approved courses at approved colleges of higher education including approved undergraduate and postgraduate courses in EU Member States and in non-EU countries. Further information on this tax relief is available from the Revenue Commissioners.


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