Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (599)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

599. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science further to Parliamentary Question No. 287 of 21 January 2021, if third-level students from Ireland studying in Northern Ireland and not in receipt of a SUSI grant cannot access the once-off payment of €250 for students. [7174/21]

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Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

In Budget 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, funding was provided in recognition of the exceptional situation students have experienced. Financial assistance will be provided to all SUSI eligible students and to EU full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students attending publicly funded Higher Education Institutions in the state.

EU full-time students outside of the SUSI system must be registered in a publicly funded higher education provider in the State to avail of this allocation.

In terms of other Irish nationals studying abroad, the provision of supports to Irish citizens based on nationality alone with the exclusion of other EU nationals would be contrary to EU law. It is therefore not possible to provide supports based on Irish citizenship alone. Instead the measure applies to all of those qualifying for SUSI grants, wherever they are studying and those of EU nationality at publicly funded higher education institutions in the State. Additionally a key administrative feature of the fund is that it is being implemented with the assistance of publicly funded institutions in the State under the remit of my Department.

The main support available to assist students with the cost of higher education is the Student Grant Scheme. Students attending approved undergraduate courses in Northern Ireland can apply for a maintenance grant provided they meet the terms and conditions of the Student Grant Scheme. There is also a special derogation contained within the Student Support Act 2011 which provides supports for postgraduate students attending courses in Northern Ireland. Such students may be eligible for assistance towards their postgraduate fees up to the maximum fees limit of €6,270 or a Postgraduate Fee Contribution of €2,000 subject to satisfying the terms and conditions of the Student Grant Scheme 2020. There is no other provision under the student grant scheme for the payment of fees to students studying outside of the State.

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 including approved undergraduate and postgraduate courses in EU Member States and in non-EU countries. Further information on this tax relief is available from the Revenue Commissioners on www.revenue.ie.

Students may also wish to contact the relevant college in Northern Ireland for advice on the type and range of supports that are available in that particular institution.