Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Questions (144)

Anthony Lawlor

Question:

144. Deputy Anthony Lawlor asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the nationality requirements for the student support regulations and student grant scheme for the 2013-14 academic year will include students who have permission to remain here because they are the dependent child of a person who has achieved Irish citizenship; if not, the reason; if he will outline that such students should be included rather than only those who are the dependent child of someone who has permission to remain because of marriage or civil partnership with an Irish national; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33927/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

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, previous academic attainment and means. The nationality requirements for the student grant scheme are set out in section 14 of the Student Support Act 2011 and regulation 5 of the Student Support Regulations 2013.

In all cases, to qualify for a student grant, it is the grant applicant and not his/her parents that must meet the nationality or prescribed immigration status requirements in their own right. The onus is on the grant applicant to provide the necessary documentary evidence as proof of their nationality or immigration status to the relevant grant awarding authority.

Article 32 of the Student Grant Scheme 2013 provides for the review of eligibility for the award of a grant in the event of changes of circumstances in the academic year, including a change in relation to a students' nationality or immigration status. This means that where a student acquires Irish citizenship by naturalisation or acquires a prescribed immigration status during the course of their studies they may make an application in the academic year for a student grant.

I have asked my Department to examine the overall issue of the entitlement of non-EU families to third level fees and grants generally and I am currently considering the matter to ensure that there is clarity as to precise entitlements in this complex area. Any decision in relation to changes to the Student Grant Scheme including changes to eligibility criteria will need to be considered in the context of availability of resources.