Written Answers. - Higher Education Grants.

John Perry

Question:

1116 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will intervene on behalf of a person (details supplied) in County Sligo and have a grant approved in view of the fact that she is a mature student who will have no option but to drop out of college as she is dependent on financial assistance to cover all college expenses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20648/00]

I understand from the Sligo Vocational Education Committee, the body responsible for the administration of the post leaving certificate maintenance grants scheme, that the normal residence of the student in question is within 15 miles of Ballinode College and, therefore, the student has been awarded a maintenance grant at the adjacent rate.

The student in question was assessed as a candidate other than a mature candidate as she was not aged 23 years on 1 January 2000, the year of entry to her post-leaving certificate course. Under the student support schemes, maintenance grants are payable at either adjacent or non-adjacent rates. Where candidates are assessed as "candidates other than a mature candidate" the adjacent rate of maintenance grant is payable where the grantholder's normal residence is 15 miles or less from the college which she/he is attending.

The terms and conditions of the student support schemes are of general application and, accordingly, it is not possible to make exceptions in individual cases such as this.

John Perry

Question:

1117 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will intervene on behalf of a person (details supplied) in County Sligo and have financial assistance made available to her in view of the fact that she had no option but to train in Belfast as there are only ten places available here; if he will make a favourable decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20649/00]

The third level student support grants are tenable in respect of full-time undergraduate courses of not less than two years duration pursued in a university or third-level institution which is maintained or assisted by recurrent grants from public funds in another EU member state, with the exception of the following: courses in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and teacher training courses including those leading to the award of Bachelor of Education; courses in colleges of further and higher education, other than courses which are at higher national diploma level or higher; courses provided in a college which are offered in private commercial third level colleges in the State, and which are validated by that college; and courses in colleges akin to private commercial colleges in Ireland.

Accordingly, if the student to whom the Deputy refers is pursuing a course at higher national diploma level or higher, she should apply to Sligo Vocational Education Committee who will assess her eligibility for grant assistance under the terms of the vocational education committees scholarships scheme.

John Perry

Question:

1118 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will intervene on behalf of a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim and have a grant approved in view of the fact that his parents have financial commitments (details supplied) and cannot afford the financial burden of college and accommodation expenses in sending their son to college in County Galway; if he will make a favourable decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20650/00]

Under the terms of the third level student support schemes, a candidate's reckonable income for the purposes of the means test is his/her gross income from all sources and the gross income of his/her parents or guardians where applicable, with certain specified social welfare and health board payments being exempt.

My Department has been in touch with Leitrim Vocational Education Committee, the body responsible for the assessment of means in this case, and it is understood that the reckonable income in this case exceeds the current income limits for the award of a grant in respect of the 2000-2001 academic year. Accordingly, the candidate to whom the Deputy refers is ineligible for grant assistance in respect of the current academic year.

The terms and conditions of the student support schemes are of general application and, accordingly, it is not possible to make exceptions in individual cases such as this.