Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Student Accommodation

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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306. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he discussed the situation of on-campus accommodation and the rental status of students in on-campus accommodation with college authorities (details supplied); the further discussions he has had with college authorities regarding the refunding of moneys paid for on-campus accommodation which subsequently could not be accessed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6484/20]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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Before the announcement of closures on March 12, my Department had been in regular contact with its partners in the tertiary education sector in the context of Covid-19.

Immediately following the Taoiseach’s announcement of closures on March 12, the communications section issued a detailed statement to all stakeholders in the tertiary sector informing them of the decision to close schools, pre-schools and further and higher education settings.  This statement was widely circulated through our social media channels, email and website and the Department was available to assist our partners with any outstanding issues of concern.

Subsequent to this, the Department has been in regular contact with its stakeholders and partners in the tertiary education sector to address the challenges faced by students in this difficult time.

The Department understands based on the information available to it that the majority of students in university-owned accommodation will receive pro-rata refunds if they vacate their accommodation. I have indicated that I would wish to see this principle applied in the case of all students who have vacated their student accommodation however it is not within the remit of my Department to direct any accommodation provider to offer a refund.

Where students are receiving a refund from their accommodation provider they should contact the provider directly for details on how this refund will be facilitated.

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