Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (440, 455)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

440. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Social Protection if a person currently studying for a primary degree and in receipt of back to education allowance and who intends to progress to master's level, may retain back to education allowance at master's level or if there is another allowance available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22901/14]

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Andrew Doyle

Question:

455. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Social Protection if a person studying for a primary degree and in receipt of back to education allowance and who intends to progress to master's level may retain back to education allowance at master's level; if the person may work on a part-time basis should a job opportunity present itself; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23139/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 440 and 455 together.

Post-graduate courses that lead to a higher diploma in any discipline are eligible for support under the back to education allowance scheme (BTEA). Other than the professional masters in education, to which eligibility has been extended for the forthcoming academic year following the introduction of number of improvements to the scheme, no other post-graduate study at masters level is supported. The Deputy may wish to note that there are no circumstances whereby a person who already holds a post-graduate qualification will be considered eligible for the BTEA to pursue another course of study.

With respect to BTEA and work, a person supported by the scheme may engage in part-time work while on BTEA without affecting their personal rate of payment. This is provided that such part-time work does not interfere with their college attendance.

This Department does not offer specific supports for students pursuing third level qualifications outside of the back to education programme. The principal support towards full-time courses, in financial terms, is provided for under the student grant scheme administered by the Department of Education and Skills.