Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Ceisteanna (533)

Bobby Aylward

Ceist:

533. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the possibility of changing the eligibility rules which determine whether or not an applicant can be assessed as dependent or independent will be investigated to ensure that a change in circumstances of a person can be appropriately considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33278/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

For student grant purposes, students are categorised according to their circumstances either as students dependent on parents or a legal guardian, or as independent mature students.

For a dependent student, the reckonable income for grant purposes includes both his/her own income and that of his/her parents/legal guardians.

A student may be assessed as an independent mature student if he or she has attained the age of 23 on the 1st January of the year of first entry to an approved course, or of re-entry following a break in studies of at least three years, and is not ordinarily resident with his/her parents from the previous October. Otherwise he or she would continue to be assessed on the basis of parental income.

An applicant's class is defined at his/her first point of entry to an approved higher or further education course and this will continue to apply for the duration of his/her studies.

While it is not possible to appeal an applicant’s class during the course of his/her studies, an applicant may be assessed or re-assessed by the awarding authority in the event of a change of circumstances relating to the following:

- Permanent change in reckonable income;

- Number of dependent children residing in the household;

- Commencement of an approved course;

- Normal residence;

- Nationality or immigration status;

- Change of course or institution.

If an individual applicant considers that she/he has been unjustly refused a student grant on the grounds of his/her initial classification as an independent or dependent student, she/he may appeal, in the first instance, to SUSI. Where an individual applicant has had an appeal turned down in writing by SUSI and remains of the view that the scheme has not been interpreted correctly in his/her case, an appeal, outlining the position may be submitted by the applicant to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board at www.studentgrantappeals.ie within the required timeframe.