Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (340)

Willie Penrose

Question:

448 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath who has been in contact with his Department, has been refused for a higher education grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1417/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

Under the terms of my Department's higher education grant schemes students who already hold an undergraduate degree are not generally eligible for grant assistance in respect of further study at undergraduate level. There is, however, provision under the terms of the schemes for students who already hold a pass or general degree and are progressing to complete an honours degree in one year. In such cases it must be established that successful completion of the year in question may only result in an honours degree and that there is no possibility of a second award at the same level, that is another pass or general degree.

My Department understands that the duration of the course, referred to by the Deputy, is 18 months and that successful completion of the course may lead to an award at either honours or pass degree level. As the student in question already holds a general degree and the course does not comply with the provisions of the schemes, she is ineligible for grant assistance in respect of the course. The terms of the schemes are of general application and accordingly it is not open to me or my Department to depart from the terms in individual cases.