Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ceisteanna (120)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

120. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the fall of 10% in Student Universal Support Ireland grant awards in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11593/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí ó Béal (1 píosaí cainte) (Ceist ar Education)

With regard to the information referred to by the Deputy, that student grants awarded in the 2012-13 academic year in Mayo have declined by over 9%, the Department would caution that any conclusions drawn from such analysis may be limited, as any comprehensive analysis will need to reflect the wide variety of factors which impact on the number of student grant awards in any academic year. The factors include, but would not be limited to, the number of applications, the number of students directly transitioning from second level to third level, the number of mature students entering the system for the first time or re-entering after a break in study, the increases in population in a particular age–cohort, or area be it rural or urban, the economic circumstances and developments in a particular area, the financial circumstances of individuals and their parents and the increases in attendance at third level generally.

In the 2012-13 academic year new applicants applied to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) and renewal applicants remained with their previous grant awarding authorities (Mayo County Council and Co. Mayo VEC in this instance). The table details the number of awards (new and renewal) in Mayo for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic year.

Mayo

2011/12

2012/13

% Change

New

1,615

1,679

+4%

Renewal

2,212

1,783

-19%

Total

3,827

3,827

-9.5%

The above shows that while there was an overall decrease of some 9.5% in total awards in Mayo in 2012-13, the number of new awards made by SUSI actually represents an increase from 2011-12 of some 4%. The creation of SUSI, a single grant awarding agency, and the electronic compilation of data will enable greater visibility and analysis of trends in this area in coming years.