Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (347)

Denis Naughten

Question:

455 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of people from counties Roscommon and Leitrim respectively attending institutes of technology, universities and PLC courses; the numbers in each category in receipt of higher education grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1513/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

The 2002-03 academic year is the most recent year in respect of which comprehensive statistics are available to my Department. Details of the numbers of students from counties Roscommon and Leitrim attending full-time courses in universities and institutes of technology are outlined in the attached table. The number of students attending PLC courses in those counties is also included; data on the county of origin of these PLC students is not, however, available. The available data in respect of the numbers of students in receipt of grant assistance under all four maintenance grant schemes is also outlined, for the Deputy's information, in the following table.

My Department funds three student support schemes for students attending third level education: the higher education grants scheme, which generally applies to all university degree courses and is administered by local authorities; third level maintenance grants scheme for trainees, which applies to most certificate and diploma courses in institutes of technology and is administered by the vocational education committees and the institutes of technology; and the vocational education committees' scholarship scheme, which generally applies to add-on courses where students have already pursued certificate or diploma level courses and to certain courses in Northern Ireland and which is administered by the vocational education committees. My Department funds one student support scheme in respect of post-leaving certificate courses, namely, the maintenance grants scheme for students attending post-leaving certificate, PLC, courses. This scheme is administered by the vocational education committees.

Under the third level maintenance grants scheme for trainees, the institutes of technology pay the maintenance grants to the students concerned and recoup the moneys directly from my Department. The total number of grant holders in 2002-03 was 13,401. County-specific information is not available at present in respect of the third level maintenance grant scheme for trainees.

Under the terms of the maintenance grants scheme for students attending post-leaving certificate, PLC, courses, grant applicants are assessed by the VEC in whose administrative area they reside. However, eligible students are subsequently paid their grants by the VEC in whose administrative area the PLC centre they are attending is situated. Accordingly, separate figures are available to my Department in respect of: the numbers of students attending PLC centres in counties Roscommon and Leitrim and the numbers of students from each county approved for grant assistance by their respective VECs under the PLC scheme. The Deputy should note that the higher number of students in receipt of assistance is accounted for by the attendance of students from Roscommon at centres outside of their county of origin.

Table 1: Numbers of Students Attending Courses in 2002-03

Sector of Study

Universities

Institutes of Technology

PLC Courses

Total

Roscommon

1,060

1,097

73

2,230

Leitrim

414

533

113

1,060

Table 2: Numbers of Students in Receipt of Grant Assistance in 2002-03

County Roscommon

County Leitrim

HEG Scheme

477

233

VEC Scholarship Scheme

186

82

TLT Scheme

N/A

N/A

PLC Scheme (Nos. Approved for Grant Assistance)

101

78