Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Student Universal Support Ireland

Photo of Paul MurphyPaul Murphy (Dublin South West, RISE)
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238. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if amendments will be made to the requirement to submit payslips for work done by a student applying for a grant to SUSI in view of the impossibility of contacting some previous employers, for example, pubs due to them being closed as a result of Covid-19. [6198/20]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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Student grant applications for academic year 2020/21 will be assessed based on income earned in 2019.

The assessment of means under the student grant scheme is based on gross income from all sources, with certain social welfare and health service executive payments being exempt. 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 2020 Scheme allows students to disregard holiday earnings up to €4,500 from the assessment of reckonable income. The student must also have been in education when this income was earned.

In recent years, SUSI has vastly reduced the documentation required from students. Evidence of holiday earnings is only requested where it will lead to a better rate of grant being awarded to the student.

I understand from SUSI that to confirm holiday earnings, the student must submit a holiday earnings form completed by their employer. The form is available on SUSI’s website at the following link . Where it is not possible for the student’s employer to complete this form, SUSI will accept a copy of the student’s relevant pay-slips.

If the student is unable to return the completed form or pay-slips within the timeframe noted on their checklist letter, they can contact SUSI’s Support Desk and an extension will be arranged.

If the student does not have access to a photocopier, they can send the original pay-slips to SUSI. SUSI will then make a copy of the pay-slips and return the originals to the student.

In certain circumstances, such as the student is self-isolating, cocooning or does not have access to a printer, the student can email a copy of the completed form or pay-slips to SUSI.

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 full-time and part-time 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. Institutions have the autonomy to maximise the flexibility in the Student Assistance Fund to enable HEIs to support students during the COVID-19 situation.

In addition, 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 students’ local Tax Offices or from the Revenue Commissioners website,

www.revenue.ie

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