Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Ceisteanna (291, 292, 293)

Mary Upton

Ceist:

394 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Education and Science, further to his reply to Parliamentary Question No. 176 of 10 December, if Irish students who wish to further their ballet studies will be entitled to grants or fees if they pursue their studies in colleges in the United Kingdom, due to the fact that no such facilities are on offer here. [1142/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

398 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will approve the colleges and institutions (details supplied) for grant assistance to allow Irish students of dance to train abroad; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1176/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mary Upton

Ceist:

401 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Education and Science further to Parliamentary Question No. 176 of 10 December 2003, if Irish students who wish to further their ballet studies will be entitled to grants or fees if they pursue their studies in colleges in the United Kingdom. [1207/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Education and Science)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 394, 398 and 401 together.

In relation to support available for students studying abroad, my Department's student maintenance grant schemes provide maintenance grants to undergraduate students pursuing approved third level courses in other EU member states.

In general, an approved undergraduate course in this context is defined as a full-time undergraduate course of not less than two years duration pursued in a university or third level institution, which is maintained or assisted by recurrent grants from public funds in another EU member state, with the exception of the following: courses in colleges of further and higher education, other than courses which are at higher national diploma level or higher; courses provided in a college which are offered in private commercial third level colleges in the state and which are validated by that college and; courses in colleges akin to private commercial colleges in Ireland.

Where a grant application is made in respect of a course being pursued in a third level institution abroad, such as a dance or ballet school, it is a matter for the awarding body, such as a local authority or VEC, to satisfy itself regarding the status of the institution and as to whether the course and institution meet the terms of the relevant scheme. There are no plans, at present, to expand the provisions in the grant schemes in relation to study abroad.

In relation to tuition fees, there is provision for tax relief at the standard rate in respect of approved courses at approved colleges of higher education, including approved undergraduate and postgraduate courses in other EU member states. Further details and conditions in relation to this relief are available from the Revenue Commissioners.