Written answers

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Department of Education and Skills

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry, Fine Gael)
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216. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if student grant income thresholds will be increased in view of the significant burden the cost of third level education has on families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53612/18]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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Under the terms of the student grant scheme, grant assistance is awarded to students who meet the prescribed conditions of funding including those which relate to nationality, residency, approved course, previous academic attainment and means.

The Student Grant Scheme provides for higher income thresholds for larger families. In addition to this, further increases in the income thresholds are provided for where additional family members are attending further and higher education at the same time.

The income threshold for the special rate of grant is €23,500. The student must also meet other qualifying criteria for the special rate of grant. The highest income threshold, for a family of fewer than 4 dependent children, is €54,240. This will qualify a student for 50% of the student contribution.

In the assessment of means, a deduction can be made for holiday earnings made by the applicant from employment outside of term time but within the reference period. The value of this income disregard was increased from €3,809 to €4,500 in the 2016 scheme.

Changes to the income thresholds for the Student Grant Scheme are announced as part of the Budget process. No changes to the thresholds were included in Budget 2019.

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. Information on the fund is available through the Access Officer in the third level institution attended. This fund is administered on a confidential, discretionary basis.


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