Written Answers. - Third Level Education.

John Perry

Question:

234 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has received a submission (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11086/03]

I confirm receipt of the submission referred to by the Deputy.

In response to the issues raised in the submission a review of student support provisions is being undertaken within my Department, with the aim of ensuring that the benefits of the substantial investment being made are maximised.

Officials of my Department are conducting the review. However, some issues require the engagement of external expertise. In this regard, the Economic and Social Research Institute has undertaken work to enable my Department to estimate the cost of various options.
In conducting the review my Department officials are having regard to international experience and relevant reports and policy documents, including the report of the action group on access to third level education which was launched in July 2001. The action group members, who were representative of a large number of interest groups and bodies, sought, and considered, a large number of submissions.
I expect that the outcome of the review by my officials will provide me with a range of possible options which will seek to ensure that the available funding is targeted in a manner which achieves maximum impact from the point of view of equity of access to third level education.
It is anticipated that the review will be submitted for my attention in the near future. As I indicated to the House previously, I recognise the need to avoid, as far as possible, uncertainty for students and their parents. In any event, it is my intention to decide within the coming weeks as to the arrangements and support provisions which will be in place for students for the 2003-04 academic year.
When I have had an opportunity to consider the contents of the review I will bring the matter to Cabinet. Following its consideration by Government, I will make a determination as regards publication and consultation arrangements, as appropriate.
Question No. 235 answered with Question No. 196.
Question No. 236 answered with Question No. 197.
Question No. 237 answered with Question No. 198.
Question No. 238 answered with Question No. 199.