Written answers

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Student Grant Scheme

Photo of Gerald NashGerald Nash (Louth, Labour)
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523. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she will amend or review the requirements for mature applicants to third-level colleges living at home with their parents due to lack of affordable housing options being assessed based on their parents’ income; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18821/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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The decision on eligibility for student grant applications is a matter for the centralised grant awarding authority, SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland).  

For student grant purposes, students are categorised according to their circumstances either as students dependent on parents or a legal guardian, or as independent mature students.

A student may be assessed as an independent student (i.e. assessed without reference to parental income and address) if he/she has attained the age of 23 on 1 January of the year of first entry to an approved course, and is not ordinarily resident with his/her parents from the previous 1 October. Otherwise, he/she would be assessed as a dependent student, i.e. assessed with reference to parental income and address. 

Only in exceptional cases, where compelling evidence of estrangement from parents/guardians is provided, can candidates who are under 23 be assessed without reference to their parents/guardians income or address.

Applicants who do not meet the criteria to be assessed as an independent student for grant purposes, or who cannot supply the necessary documentation to establish independent living for the required period, may still apply to SUSI to have their grant eligibility assessed as a dependent student. The relevant information, including details of parental income, would be required by SUSI to determine grant eligibility as a dependent student. 

It is important to note that each year a significant number of student grant applicants are assessed as 'independent' students and awarded student supports on that basis.

There are no plans at present to change these eligibility arrangements.

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