Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (213)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

213. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Education and Skills the way in which a student can be refused a SUSI grant when the student is over the limit by €44 as in a case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44435/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Under the terms of the Student Grant Scheme, grant assistance is awarded to students attending an approved course in an approved institution who meet the prescribed conditions of funding including those which relate to nationality, residency, approved course, previous academic attainment and means.

The decision on eligibility for student grant applications is a matter, in the first instance, for the centralised grant awarding authority, SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland).

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

The terms and conditions of the Student Grant Scheme, including the means test arrangements, are applied impartially on a national basis, and accordingly it is not possible to make an exception in an individual case, regardless of circumstances.

The student in question has appealed the decision on her grant application to the SUSI appeals officer and subsequently to the statutorily independent Student Grants Appeals Board who both upheld the decision of the awarding authority. The student has exhausted the appeals process provided for in the Student Support Act 2011.

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. Details of this fund are available from the Access Office in the third level institution attended.

In addition, tax relief at the standard rate of tax may be claimed in respect of tuition fees paid for approved courses at approved colleges of higher education. Further information on this tax relief is available from the applicant’s local Tax Office or from the Revenue Commissioners website, www.revenue.ie.