Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Department of Education and Skills
Student Grant Scheme
350. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if the terms of SUSI grants will be revised to reflect the 2020 income year, rather than the previous year, in view of the unprecedented financial circumstances facing parents and students in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29669/20]
The principal support provided by my Department in financial terms is the Student Grant Scheme. Under the terms of the Grant Scheme, grant assistance is awarded to students attending an approved course in an approved institution who meet the prescribed conditions of funding, including those relating to nationality, residency, previous academic attainment and means.
The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter, in the first instance, for the centralised student grant awarding authority SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) to determine.
For the 2020/21 academic year, student grant applications will be assessed based on gross income from all sources for the period 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2019.
However, if a student or party to their application experiences a change in circumstances that is not a temporary change and is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, they can apply to have their application assessed under the change in circumstances provision of the relevant Student Grant Scheme. Under the change of circumstances provision, the income of all parties to the application will be assessed or reassessed on the current year (2020).
In addition to the supports available under the SUSI grant scheme, students in third-level institutions experiencing exceptional financial need can apply for support under the Student Assistance Fund. This fund assists students, in a sensitive and compassionate manner, who might otherwise be unable to continue their third level studies due to their financial circumstances. Information on the fund is available through the Access Office in the higher education institution attended. This fund is administered on a confidential, discretionary basis.