Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (220)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

220. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if and when a higher education grant will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15094/14]

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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 relating 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. Officials in my Department confirmed with SUSI that the applicant referred to by the Deputy was refused grant assistance on nationality grounds as her current permission to remain does not satisfy the nationality requirements of the scheme. However, I understand the applicant is in the advanced stages of the naturalisation process and she has been advised by SUSI to submit her Certificate of Naturalisation when received in order for her eligibility for grant assistance to be reviewed. Article 32 of the Student Grant Scheme 2013 provides for the review of eligibility for the award of grant assistance in the event of changes of circumstances in the academic year, including a change in relation to a student's nationality or immigration status. This means that where a student acquires Irish citizenship by naturalisation, or is granted permission to remain provided for in the Act or Regulations during the course of their studies, he/she may apply to SUSI to have his/her application re-assessed. Any award the applicant may be eligible for as a result of a change in her immigration status will take effect from the date on which the change occurs. If an individual applicant considers that she/he has been unjustly refused a student grant, or that the rate of grant awarded is not the correct one, she/he may appeal, in the first instance, to SUSI. Where an appeal is turned down in writing by SUSI and the applicant remains of the view that the scheme has not been interpreted correctly in his or her case, an appeal form outlining the position may be submitted by the applicant to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board. The relevant appeal form is available to download from http://www.studentfinance.ie/downloads/1375344221/2013_SGAB_appeal_form.pdf.