Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (271)

Brendan Smith


271. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will clarify the situation in relation to the circumstances that a student who holds a primary degree in sports science can now qualify for a grant to do a two year masters in physiotherapy in UCD; if there is any special entitlement-scheme for students who are Irish international athletes and who, on this occasion, have been selected for this masters course on the basis of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30365/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The main financial support available to students attending higher education is my Department's Student Grant Scheme. Under the terms of the Student Grant Scheme, grant assistance is awarded to students who meet the prescribed conditions of funding including those which relate to nationality, residency, approved course, previous academic attainment and means. Currently maintenance support is not available for students entering postgraduate courses. However, those who meet the qualifying conditions for the special rate of grant will be eligible to have their post-graduate tuition fees paid up to the maximum fee limit of €6,270.

A postgraduate student may qualify to have a €2,000 contribution made towards the costs of their fees. The income threshold for this payment is €31,500 for the 2013/14 academic year, increasing relative to the number of family dependants. The Deputy will appreciate that in the absence of all of the relevant details that would be contained in an individual's application form it would not be possible for me to say if the student would qualify for a student grant. To determine eligibility for the 2013/14 academic year a student may submit a fully completed online grant application to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) via www.susi.ie. My Department has no special entitlement scheme for students participating in higher education who are Irish international athletes. Tax relief is also available on postgraduate tuition fees. Details in relation to this relief are available from the Revenue Commissioners.