Written answers

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Department of Education and Skills

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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44. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the position with regard to the restoration of post-graduate grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2724/19]

Photo of Mary Mitchell O'ConnorMary Mitchell O'Connor (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael)
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The Programme for Government contains a commitment to increase financial supports for postgraduate students with a particular focus on those from low income households.

In response to this commitment, additional funding of €7m was secured in Budgets 2017 and 2018 to facilitate the reinstatement of full maintenance grants from September 2017 for the most disadvantaged postgraduate students. This benefitted circa 1,000 postgraduate students who met the eligibility criteria for the special rate of maintenance grant for the 2017/18 academic year and reversed the previous budgetary cut.

In addition, postgraduate students who qualify for the special rate of grant under the Student Grant Scheme are eligible to have their post graduate tuition fees paid up to the maximum fee limit of €6,270.

Alternatively, a postgraduate student may qualify to have a €2,000 contribution made towards the cost of fees. The income threshold for this payment is €31,500 for the 2018/19 academic year, increasing relative to the number of family dependents.

Students in third-level institutions experiencing exceptional financial need can apply for support under the Student Assistance Fund through the Access Office in the third level institution attended. An additional €1m was added to the Fund in 2017 which is specifically ring-fenced for part-time students who are lone-parents or members of the other access target groups. Prior to that the fund supported full-time students only. A further allocation of €1m for the Fund was recently announced. This additional funding will be aimed at students studying a Professional Master of Education programme in the 2018/19 academic year and who are experiencing financial difficulty. A total of €10.1m has now been allocated through the Student Assistance Fund (SAF) in 2018/2019.

Tax relief is also available for postgraduate tuition fees. Details in relation to same are available from the Revenue Commissioners.


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