Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Questions (72)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

72. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding Student Universal Support Ireland grants in respect of persons (details supplied). [50953/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that in the case of the students referred to by the Deputy their applications for a grant were refused as the reckonable income exceeded the specified threshold for the academic year 2013/14. In order for eligibility to be reassessed under a change of circumstances the awarding authority must be satisfied that the fall in income is likely to obtain for the duration of the approved course or the foreseeable future. The decision on eligibility for a student is a matter in the first instance for the awarding authority.

The Deputy will appreciate that in the absence of all of the relevant details that would be contained in an individual's application in relation to nationality, residency, previous academic attainment and means, it would not be possible for me to say whether or not a student would qualify for a grant under a change in circumstances. Illness Benefit is considered to be a short-term social welfare payment and, therefore, receipt of same may not constitute a permanent change of circumstances.

Where an individual applicant considers that he has been unjustly refused a student grant, or that the rate of grant awarded is not the correct one, he may appeal, in the first instance, to SUSI. Where an individual applicant has had an appeal turned down, in writing, by SUSI, and remains of the view that SUSI has not interpreted the scheme correctly in his/her case, an appeal form outlining the position may be submitted by the applicant to the Student Grants Appeals Board. The relevant appeal form is available to download from http://www.studentfinance.ie/downloads/1375344221/2013_SGAB_appeal_form.pdf.