Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Ceisteanna (219)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony


219. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of students who received the student assistance fund in each of the years 2012 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23325/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Student Assistance Fund (SAF) provides financial assistance to students experiencing financial difficulties while attending third level. Students can be assisted towards the rent, childcare costs, transport costs and books/class materials.

In 2012/2013 the number of students who availed of the SAF was 17,840.  This increase was due to a once-off supplementary funding which was given in the context of long grant delays/issues encountered by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) in its initial year of operation.

SAF recipients for subsequent years were as follows: 

2013/2014: 15,166 students; 2014/2015: 14,959 students; 2015/2016: 15,772 students; 2016/2017: 16,019 students; 2017/2018: 14,156 students.

While the numbers of recipients decreased in 2017/18 the allocation to the Student Assistance Fund has increased. In 2016/2017 almost €8m was allocated for the Student Assistance Fund (SAF).  In 2017/2018 SAF was extended to support part-time students who are lone parents and from other target groups in the National Access Plan by adding a further €1m to the Fund. A total of €9.1m was allocated through the Student Assistance Fund (SAF) in 2017/2018.

 In December 2018 a further €1 million was added to the Fund for students attending Professional Masters of Education courses, who are experiencing financial difficulty.