Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Ceisteanna (2694)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

2694. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the back to education allowance will be increased by 5%; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32160/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The back to education allowance scheme (BTEA) is designed to support second chance education. It enables eligible persons to pursue education and to continue to receive income support for the duration of a course of study. The weekly rate of payment is linked to the persons' underlying payment, for example jobseekers allowance.

Government has provided almost €62 million for BTEA in 2019. This represents a considerable investment in supporting participants to acquire the necessary education and skills to re-enter the labour market. If this budget is increased by 5%, it will result in an additional €3 million cost in a full year. Any such changes would have to be considered in a budgetary context and within the scope of the overall resources available for welfare improvements.

The BTEA is not intended as an alternative form of funding for people entering or re-entering the third-level education system. The Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grant, payable by the Department of Education and Skills, represents the primary support for persons pursuing education.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.