Thursday, 1 February 2018

Questions (99)

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

99. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the way in which the distances for SUSI adjacent and non-adjacent grants are defined. [4857/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The current qualifying distance of 45km for the higher non-adjacent rate of student grant, takes into account a reasonable radius within which students may commute on a daily basis. The measurement of the distances relating to the award of adjacent or non-adjacent rates of student grant is a matter for the relevant grant awarding authority. The distance measurement for student grant rates is governed by Article 27(3)(a) and (b) of the Student Grant Scheme 2017. This provides that the relevant distance will be measured in line with agreed guidelines. The guidelines require that the shortest most direct route between the applicant's normal residence and the institution being attended should apply. In determining the shortest most direct route, the relevant awarding authority shall establish:- the method for measuring a route; and- the factors to be taken into account in establishing and measuring a route. SUSI has progressively introduced a number of measures that are intended to make the Student Grant Scheme more efficient for students. One of these measures is the introduction of Eircode which has helped to reduce processing times for applicants.

However, the actual calculation of distance from a student's home to college has not changed from previous years, and SUSI continues to use google maps to calculate distance.

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 individual applicant has had an appeal turned down in writing by SUSI and remains of the view that the scheme has not been interpreted correctly in his/her case, an appeal may be submitted to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board within the required timeframe. Such appeals can be made by the appellant on line via www.studentgrantappeals.ie