Written Answers. - Higher Education Grants.

Ulick Burke

Ceist:

144 Mr. U. Burke asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason an application for grant assistance for attendance at Trinity College, Dublin, was refused to persons (details supplied) in County Galway. [8269/98]

The students referred to by the Deputy have not submitted applications under the higher education grants scheme to the relevant local authority, which in this instance is Galway County Council. However, I understand that the students may be querying their eligibility for free fees. Under the free fees initiative, tuition fees are payable in respect of eligible EU nationals who have been ordinarily resident in an EU member state for at least three of the five years preceding entry to their third level course.

My Department has been in contact with the Admissions Office in Trinity College, Dublin and I understand, from the information provided in their application forms, that both of the students have been resident in the USA for the four years immediately prior to commencing their respective courses at Trinity College. As these students do not satisfy the residency requirement they are not eligible under the terms of the free fees initiative.