Written answers

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Student Universal Support Ireland

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Social Democrats)
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256. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills when students who do not avail of the SUSI grant will receive the €250 Covid-19 payment; when arrangements for payment to students who do not avail of SUSI will be finalised; and if this cohort of students will receive it before Christmas. [44006/20]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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In recognition of the challenges facing full time third level students the Government has approved once off funding of €50m to provide additional financial assistance in this academic year. 

The funding was provided in Budget 2021, in recognition of the exceptional situation they have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Financial assistance will be provided to all EU full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students attending publicly funded Higher Education Institutions.

The scheme will ensure students;

- Who avail of the SUSI grant, including students abroad, will receive €250 top-up in their grant;

- Students who do not avail of the grant but attend publicly funded Higher Education Institutions in the state can reduce by €250 any outstanding student contribution fee payments or receive a €250 credit note for their institution;

- In a small number of cases, alternative arrangements will be made for the payment of the monies to students at the discretion of institutions.

The latter two options, as outlined above, are designed to ensure students who are not in receipt of SUSI benefit from the measure. It is also the intention that these address circumstances where students are in final year, have paid their contribution fee and may not be on campus.

A key administrative feature of the fund is that it is being implemented with the assistance of publicly funded institutions in the State under the remit of my Department.  SUSI and higher education institutions are in the process of communicating with students on the specific arrangements and timeframe for disbursement of funds/credits in the coming weeks.

Additionally Budget 2021 provides further funding to enhance SUSI grant supports for post-grads and increase support for the PATH access initiative.

This builds on the additional supports announced in July including a doubling of the Student Assistance Fund, and a €15 million technology fund for devices for students in further and higher education.


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