Tuesday, 13 July 2021
Department of Education and Skills
Third Level Education
538. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the annual spend on the student maintenance grant; the estimated cost of increasing all rates by 10%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38058/21]
539. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of increasing the income thresholds for the student maintenance grant also known as the SUSI grant; the estimated cost of increasing all rates by 10%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38059/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 538 and 539 together.
There are various income thresholds used depending on the type of grant, family size etc. While SUSI has statistics on those students who have applied for grant support and can estimate with some degree of certainty, what impact changes to the thresholds might have for those students on lower income levels, the accuracy of its estimates become less reliable at the higher income levels. Prospective applicants on higher incomes may not have applied for support as their income was above the relevant threshold.
The estimated cost of increasing the SUSI income thresholds by 10% is as follows.
- Increase in cost to the exchequer for 10% would be in the region of €20-€30M
The above figures do not include any changes to the income thresholds for the special rate of maintenance grants which are linked to long-term social welfare payments.
The annual spend for the 2020/21 academic year as of June 2021 was in the region of €160M.
Based on the number of students in receipt of the maintenance grant for 2020/21, the estimated cost of increasing all rates of the maintenance grant by 10% is in the region of €16.5M.
The Programme for Government contains commitments to, amongst other things, review SUSI eligibility criteria, adjacency rates and postgraduate grant supports. The review of the Student Grant Scheme is underway with over 250 submissions received via the public consultation process and over 9,000 survey responses were received through an online survey process. It is anticipated that the SUSI review will be completed later this year and will inform policy priorities for the next Estimates process and future considerations regarding the development of student grant policy. At this point I cannot pre-empt the outcome of the review to indicate when any proposed changes will come into effect.