Written answers

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Department of Education and Skills

Third Level Costs

Photo of Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy (Kildare North, Social Democrats)
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100. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to provide financial support to persons wishing to enter and or remain in third level education. [46300/22]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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The Student Grant Scheme, administered by SUSI, provides grant assistance to students pursuing 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. It assists over 70,000 students annually to access third level education.

Particular priority is afforded to those on the lowest incomes and social welfare dependents through the special rate of grant, which is payable at the higher non-adjacent rate of €6,115 or the adjacent rate of €2,575, depending on the distance travelled to the college attended.

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. A student may wish to discuss his/her individual circumstances with the SUSI Support Desk by calling 0818 888 777.

Apart from the Student Grant Scheme, students in third-level institutions experiencing exceptional financial need can apply for support under the Student Assistance Fund (SAF). Students can apply for the SAF to help with either temporary or ongoing financial difficulties and can be assisted towards their rent, childcare costs, transport costs, medical costs and books/class materials. This Fund is administered on a confidential, discretionary basis and assists students, in a sensitive and compassionate manner, who might otherwise be unable to continue their third level studies due to their financial circumstances. Details of this fund are available from the Access Office in the third level institution attended.

The Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD) supports participation by students with a disability in further and higher education. The aim is to ensure that students can participate fully in education, or on an equal basis with their peers. The Disability Officers actively promote the ethos of inclusive learning for all students. Recently the FSD has also been used for projects to develop strategic disability services in HEIs and supports for students. Examples include inclusive design in teaching and learning, improving online teaching and learning practices, staff training, improving campus experience for students with disabilities, assistive technology supports and autism-friendly spaces.

I would also encourage students to review information on the student assistant fund, the fund for students with Disabilities and other financial supports available at www.studentfinance.ie and to contact their Access Office in the third level institution attended for details of any further supports.

At this time, it is not possible to pre-empt the outcome or funding for student support measures in advance of Government's Budget 2023 announcement on 27th September.


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