Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (250)

Clare Daly

Question:

250. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills since the abolition of maintenance grants for postgraduate students, the provisions that are being made for students from lower socio-economic groups to help them with the financial means to complete their studies. [5599/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

In the context of the necessary but difficult expenditure reduction measures announced in Budget 2012, new students entering postgraduate courses from the 2012/13 academic year onwards are not entitled to maintenance payments under the Student Grant Scheme. Those who meet the qualifying conditions for the special rate of grant under the Student Grant Scheme are 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 dependents. Tax relief is also available on postgraduate tuition fees. Details in relation to this relief are available from the Revenue Commissioners. In addition to this, the Student Assistance Fund will continue to be made available through the access offices of third-level institutions to assist students in exceptional financial need. I have no plans at present to change the current arrangements.