Written answers

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Third Level Costs

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
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86. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address a matter (details supplied) with regard to third-level education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47049/19]

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 attending an approved course in an approved institution who meet the prescribed conditions of funding, including those relating to nationality, residency, previous academic attainment/progression and means.

To satisfy the terms and conditions of the Scheme in relation to progression, a student must be moving from year to year within a course having successfully completed the previous year or be transferring from one course to another where the award for the subsequent course is of a higher level than the previous course.

Under the progression/previous academic attainment criteria of the scheme, a grant will not be paid to a student for a repeat period of study on the same course, or for a different course at the same level, irrespective of whether or not a grant was paid previously.  The objective of this policy is to help as many students as possible to obtain one qualification at each level of study. However, once an equivalent period of study has been completed on the new course, the student may be eligible for student grant assistance for the remainder of the course.

In addition, under Article 15(8) of the Student Grant Scheme 2019, the awarding authority SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) has discretion to award a grant for a repeat period of study in exceptional circumstances which impacted on a student completing a particular period of study or undertaking exams. SUSI treats each application for repeat funding on a case-by-case basis, and it is it is a matter for the individual student to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the awarding authority that there were exceptional circumstances.

Apart from the Student Grant Scheme, 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 third level institution attended.

Also, 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. Further information on this tax relief is available from the student’s local Tax Office or from the Revenue Commissioners website, www.revenue.ie.


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