Written answers

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Department of Education and Skills

Third Level Fees

Photo of Colm BurkeColm Burke (Cork North Central, Fine Gael)
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282. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if serious consideration will be given to a proposal (details supplied) in relation to the €1,000 fee reduction for undergraduate students in view of the huge additional cost incurred in repeating or changing courses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2504/23]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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As part of Budget 2023, I secured a significant cost of living package for third level students, including a once-off €1,000 in support towards the undergraduate student contribution fee for higher education students eligible for my Department’s free fees schemes in the academic year 2022-2023.

A key principle of the design of the free fees initiative and the SUSI scheme is to encourage progression, that is, to support students in progressing through a chosen course of study from year to year. As a result, students are not typically supported for a repeat period of study or for a different course at the same level.

The once off student contribution support of €1,000 therefore does not apply to students undertaking a repeat period of study if that period of study is not eligible for the free fees scheme in this academic year.

Where students do not qualify for the Department’s free fees schemes, an appropriate fee may be determined by each higher education institution as autonomous bodies.

In terms of other supports, undergraduate students may be eligible to apply to the Student Assistance Fund (SAF) for financial support. This Fund provides financial support to full and part-time students who are experiencing financial difficulties while attending college and can provide assistance towards their rent, childcare costs, transport costs and books/class materials. Students with a previous higher education qualification at the same NFQ level, or who, in the past, attended higher education without ultimately obtaining a qualification, may be considered for support on a case-by-case basis and subject to available funding. Applications can be made to this Fund through the Access Office in a student’s higher education institution.

In addition, tax relief at the standard rate of tax may also be available in respect of tuition fees paid for approved courses at approved colleges of higher education. Further information on this tax relief is available from a student's local Tax Office or from the Revenue Commissioners website, www.revenue.ie.


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