The Deputy will be aware that adjustments of €178m were required to be made in the Education Sector in 2011. As previously advised, a range of budget measures to the student grants have been introduced over a period of years, including those in Budget 2011. The Deputy will also appreciate that the student grant scheme is a demand led scheme and therefore the cohort of students qualifying for grants each year varies; and is influenced by a number of factors. As such, it is difficult to disaggregate year-on-year savings to any one particular measure or to compare like with like in terms of the cohort of students qualifying for grants each year.
The measures taken in respect of student grants in recent years, have enabled the system to respond to increased demands on the student grants system due to the changed economic circumstances. During this time, the number of grant awardees has increased from 69,500 in 2009/10 to 79,000 in 2013/14.