Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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281. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if supports will be made available for students in view of the fact students are not eligible for jobseeker’s allowance and there are no summer employment prospects to help defray costs for education and so on due to the Covid-19 crisis. [11387/20]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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I am conscious of the difficulties being experienced by students and their families as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The key supports available to students are Student Grant Scheme and related supports, such as the Student Assistance Fund and the Fund for Students with Disabilities. These supports have a fundamental role to play in assisting students in further and higher education.

The 2020/21 SUSI Grant Scheme opened for applications in April and the priority closing date is 9 July. Further information in relation to student grant assistance is available from SUSI’s website (www.susi.ie). The telephone number for SUSI’s Helpdesk is 0761 087 874.

My officials are in contact with their counterparts in the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. They have advised me that full-time students who had part-time employment when the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment was introduced in March can avail of this support payment.

The Student Assistance Fund (SAF) provides financial assistance to students experiencing financial difficulties while attending third level. Students can be assisted towards the rent, childcare costs, transport costs and books/class materials. Higher Education Institutions have been given the autonomy to maximise the flexibility in the Student Assistance Fund to enable them to support students during the COVID-19 situation. Details of this fund are available from the Access Office in the third level institution attended. This fund is administered on a confidential, discretionary basis.

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