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Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 July 2013

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Questions (126)

Joe McHugh

Question:

126. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will explain the rationale underpinning the €54,000 threshold that applies for parents who support four children attending third level; his views on the case of a married couple who spend 40% of net household income on supporting four children who attend university; if he will identify the person or office with managerial responsibility within the Civil Service for reviewing this threshold; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32776/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The reckonable income thresholds for the standard rates of student grant normally track the percentage changes in average industrial earnings for specified reference periods as provided by the Central Statistics Office. Calculation of reckonable income is set out in Article 22(3) of the Student Grant Scheme 2013. The eligibility criteria for student grants including the income thresholds is reviewed annually in my Department and approved by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The income thresholds are stated on a gross income basis representing gross pay before any deductions for income tax or PRSI. On this basis everyone has the same starting point, which eliminates any distortion which may arise from different spending decisions in different households under a net earnings regime. The Deputy may be aware that various income thresholds apply depending on the number of dependent children in a family and/or the number of relevant persons attending further or higher education. In the scenario presented by the Deputy, where there are four dependent children in the family, the highest income limit, which enables a person to receive the some grant support for undergraduate studies (50% of the Student Contribution) is €59,595. In addition, as there are four dependent children pursuing a full-time higher education course, an increment of €4,830 can be applied to the income limit in respect of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th child. In such a scenario, if the family's reckonable income falls below €74,085, they may be eligible for some support under the student grant scheme. A table outlining the income thresholds for the 2013/14 academic year is set out below.

SCHEDULE 1

Reckonable Income Limits for maintenance and fee grants for the 2013/14 academic year

Part A

1. Reckonable income limits:

The period 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2012 is the reference period for the academic year 2013/14.

The income limits that apply to tuition students relate to the fee elements only. A tuition student does not qualify for any maintenance grant.

Income limits for Maintenance and Fee grants — Table A

-

Maintenance

Maintenance

Maintenance

Maintenance

Maintenance

Maintenance

Maintenance

Maintenance

-

Special Rate*

100% Standard

Rate

75% Standard

Rate

50% Standard

Rate

25% Standard

Rate

Not payable

Not payable

Not payable

-

Fee elements:

Fee elements:

Fee elements:

Fee elements:

Fee elements:

Fee elements:

Fee elements:

Fee elements:

To qualify for

100% Tuition

Fees

100% Tuition

Fees

100% Tuition

Fees

100% Tuition

Fees

100% Tuition

Fees

50% Tuition Fees

Tuition Fees —

Not payable

Tuition Fees —

Not payable

-

100% Student

Contribution

100% Student

Contribution

100% Student

Contribution

100% Student

Contribution

100% Student

Contribution

100% Student

Contribution

50% Student

Contribution

50% Student

Contribution —

Not payable

-

Field Trip

Field Trip

Field Trip

Field Trip

Field Trip

Field Trip — Not

payable

Field Trip — Not

Payable

Field Trip — Not

payable

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Postgraduate Fee

Contribution:

No. of dependent

children

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Payable

Less than 4

€22,703

€39,875

€40,970

€43,380

€45,790

€49,840

€54,240

€31,500

4 — 7

€22,703

€43,810

€45,025

€47,670

€50,325

€54,765

€59,595

€34,615

8 or more

€22,703

€47,575

€48,890

€51,760

€54,630

€59,455

€64,700

€37,580

Additional increments that may be applied to the income limits in Table A for Maintenance and Fee Grants — Table B**

+ increment for each additional relevant person

€0

+ €4,830

+ €4,670

+ €4,670

+ €4,670

+ €4,830

+ €4,830

+ €4,980

*To be eligible for the special rate of maintenance an applicant's reckonable income on 31 December 2012 must include an eligible payment listed in Schedule 2.

**Increments which may be applied to the relevant income limits.

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