Written Answers. - Higher Education Grants.

John Bruton

Question:

1011 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will sanction a higher education maintenance grant for a person (details supplied) in County Meath who was refused due to the fact that his parents' reckonable income limit was too high; if he will take into consideration the fact that the family has seven children attending school and their father must work overtime in order to support his family; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2007/99]

Under the terms of the third level student suppport schemes, a candidate's reckonable income for the purpose of the award of a grant is the candidate's gross income from all sources and that of his-her parents or guardians, where applicable. Entitlement to a grant operates on a graduated basis. In order to qualify for a grant a candidate's reckonable income must be below the relevant income limit, which varies for the level of grant and in relation to the number of dependent children in the family. Different limits apply where there are less than four dependent children, between four and seven dependent children, and eight or more dependent children. Furthermore, where there are two or more children attending full-time third level education or other specified courses, the relevant income limits are increased by £2,060 where there are two such children, £4,120 for three children and so on, by increments of £2,060.

I understand from Meath County Council, that the reckonable income in this case exceeds the income limit for the payment of a maintenance grant. Based on the details of reckonable income supplied, the student in question would qualify for a fee only grant which, in this case, would cover the registration fee of £260. This will be paid by Meath County Council on receipt of the completed acceptance form. If any aspect of the candidate's reckonable income can be considered as a once-off payment and not likely to recur, then the candidate should contact Meath County Council with proof of same, in order to have the application reassessed.