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Higher Education Grants.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 14 February 2007

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Ceisteanna (284)

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

346 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork has been refused a third level grant. [5703/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Education and Science)

Under the terms of the Department's maintenance grants schemes, and in accordance with the Local Authorities (Higher Education Grants) Act 1968 to 1992, a mature student is defined as a candidate who is at least 23 years of age on the 1st January of the year of entry or re-entry to an approved course.

Mature students are categorised as either independent mature students or mature students dependent on parents or guardians. An independent mature student is defined as meaning a mature student who was not ordinarily resident at home with his/her parents or guardians from the October preceding their entry to an approved course. Independent mature students are assessed without reference to either their parents' or guardians' income and address.

Officials in my Department contacted Cork City Council, the assessing authority in this case. The candidate referred to by the Deputy submitted a grant application form to Cork City Council seeking to be assessed under the 2006 Scheme as an independent mature candidate. I understand the candidate was initially assessed under the Higher Education Grant Scheme in 2003 with reference to her parents' address and income and has remained in higher education since that time. As the candidate is not re-entering, as defined in the grants schemes, she will continue to be assessed with reference to the year of initial entry to the schemes.

The Schemes define re-entering as "entering as a mature candidate following a break of at least one year and having previously attended a course approved for the purposes of either the Higher Education Grants Scheme or the VEC Scholarship Scheme."

The candidate referred to by the Deputy may apply to the Local Authority in Waterford appropriate to the candidates' parents to have eligibility for grant aid assessed.

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