The back to education allowance is a second chance educational opportunities scheme designed to encourage and facilitate unemploymed people, lone parents and people with disabilities who are in receipt of a relevant social welfare payment to improve their skills and qualifications with a view to returning to the work force.
To qualify for participation an applicant must, inter alia, be in receipt of a relevant social welfare payment for at least six months, 156 days, prior to commencing an approved course of study.
The person concerned has been in receipt of a social welfare payment and therefore does not come within the scope of my Department's back to education allowance. I understand that she has just recently finished participation on a FÁS community employment scheme but there are no facilities under that scheme for people to continue in payment while undertaking further education courses.
The question of any change in the present arrangements for back to education support would have to be considered in a budgetary context because of the financial implications which would be involved.