Tuesday, 8 September 2020
Department of Education and Skills
Student Grant Scheme
845. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of expanding eligibility for mature independents maintenance grants to include all mature applicants that have been forced to live with their parents for financial reasons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22674/20]
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.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. While SUSI has statistics on those students who have applied for grant support, they do not capture - Information on why mature dependent applicants are living with their parents so the number of mature dependent applicants who are living with their parents for financial reasons is not available. - how the grant would change for such applicants if they were instead assessed as independent applicants. - the number of potential applicants who currently do not apply but might do so should the criteria changesAs such, it is not possible to accurately cost what impact changes to the criteria might have for mature independent students. However, SUSI based on 2019/20 academic year student applications data, have estimated it would cost an additional €9 million for students over 25 years of age and living with their parents.