Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Education and Skills
Third Level Fees
303. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the supports available to students who do not qualify for the free fees initiative that experience financial hardship as a result of college fees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3558/20]
Under the Free Fees Initiative, the Exchequer provides funding towards tuition fees in respect of eligible students who are pursuing full-time undergraduate courses of study. In order to qualify for funding under the Free Fees Initiative, students must be first-time undergraduates, hold inter alia EU/EEA/Swiss nationality in their own right, and have been ordinarily resident in an EU/EEA/Swiss state for at least three of the five years preceding their entry to an approved third level course. Funding under this Initiative is only available in respect of approved courses within the State.
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 student’s local Tax Office or from the Revenue Commissioners website, .
Students in third-level institutions experiencing exceptional financial need can apply for support under the Student Assistance Fund. While students who need help with tuition fees or registration fees cannot be considered under the Student Assistance Fund, the Fund can assists students to meet other specified needs, 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 Office in the third level institution attended. This fund is administered on a confidential, discretionary basis.