Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (535)

Bobby Aylward


535. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the possibility of introducing an exemption for money earned by SUSI applicants through summer or part-time work earnings from the household reckonable income financial assessment will be investigated; the steps he will take to ensure that students are not penalised for earning pocket money through summer jobs or part-time work by being excluded from SUSI due to the increase in means which comes from same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33280/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The assessment of means under my Department's student grant scheme is based on gross income from all sources, with certain social welfare and health service executive payments being exempt.

In the assessment of means, a deduction can be made for holiday earnings made by the applicant from employment outside of term time but within the reference period. The value of this income disregard was increased from €3,809 to €4,500 in the 2016 scheme.

The student grant scheme contains a number of qualifying thresholds for various grant values. These gradations allow students just over a threshold margin, to remain in receipt of a grant, albeit at a reduced rate that reflects their relative income vis-à-vis other applicants.

Students in third-level institutions experiencing exceptional financial need can apply for support under the Student Assistance Fund. This Fund assists students, in a sensitive and compassionate manner, who might otherwise be unable to continue their third level studies due to their financial circumstances. Information on the fund is available through the Access Officer in the third level institution attended. This fund is administered on a confidential, discretionary basis.