Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
317. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will clarify the rules relating to a course (details supplied) in Ulster University, Coleraine, County Derry; if it qualifies as acceptable for the back to education allowance when there is a clear exit off the course with different levels of award at level 7, 8 or 9; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49184/21]
The back to education allowance scheme (BTEA) provides support to people with a second chance education opportunity that will improve their prospects of securing employment. It enables eligible people to pursue approved education courses and to continue to receive income support for the duration of a course of study, subject to meeting certain conditions. BTEA is paid in respect of eligible courses commencing in colleges in Ireland and in Northern Ireland. The Government has provided funding of €96.5 million for BTEA in 2021, representing a significant commitment and investment.
The BTEA is not intended to be an alternative form of funding for people entering or re-entering the third level education system or to provide a basis for a long-duration participation in extended education. A masters degree is not generally supported under the scheme other than in very limited circumstances. BTEA is not payable in respect of the masters degree course referred to by the Deputy.
The Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grant represents the primary support for persons pursuing education.
I trust this clarifies the position.