I propose to take Questions Nos. 394, 398 and 401 together.
In relation to support available for students studying abroad, my Department's student maintenance grant schemes provide maintenance grants to undergraduate students pursuing approved third level courses in other EU member states.
In general, an approved undergraduate course in this context is defined as a full-time undergraduate course 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 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.
Where a grant application is made in respect of a course being pursued in a third level institution abroad, such as a dance or ballet school, it is a matter for the awarding body, such as a local authority or VEC, to satisfy itself regarding the status of the institution and as to whether the course and institution meet the terms of the relevant scheme. There are no plans, at present, to expand the provisions in the grant schemes in relation to study abroad.
In relation to tuition fees, there is provision for tax relief at the standard rate in respect of approved courses at approved colleges of higher education, including approved undergraduate and postgraduate courses in other EU member states. Further details and conditions in relation to this relief are available from the Revenue Commissioners.