Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (222)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

222. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the way in which distance can be applied on SUSI applications if the route from the home to the third level institution is shorter than from the institution to the home using the same metrics and options both ways. [29344/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Further and Higher Education)

The student grant scheme, administered by SUSI, provides maintenance grants to students who meet the prescribed conditions of funding, including those relating to nationality, residency, previous academic attainment and means.

Student maintenance grants are payable at either the adjacent or non-adjacent rate. The distance to be measured is the shortest non-tolled most direct route from the student’s residence to the institution attended. The distance is always measured avoiding tolls. The adjacent rate of maintenance grant is payable in the case of students whose normal residence is 45km or less from the approved institution which he or she is attending. The non-adjacent rate of maintenance grant is payable in all other cases.

The measurement of the distances relating to the award of adjacent or non-adjacent rates of student grant is a matter for SUSI, the grant awarding authority. The distance measurement for student grant rates is governed by Article 27(3)(a) and (b) of the Student Grant Scheme 2020. This provides that the relevant distance will be measured in line with agreed guidelines. It also provides that the distance is always measured from the student's normal residence to the campus the student is attending and never the reverse.The guidelines require that the shortest most direct route between the applicant's normal residence and the institution being attended should apply. In determining the shortest most direct route, the awarding authority shall establish:

- the method for measuring a route; and

- the factors to be taken into account in establishing and measuring a route.

SUSI has progressively introduced a number of measures that are intended to make the Student Grant Scheme more efficient for students. One of these measures was the introduction of Eircode which has helped to reduce processing times for applicants.

The decision on eligibility for student grant assistance is a matter, in the first instance, for the centralised student grant awarding authority SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) to determine.

If an individual applicant considers that she/he has been unjustly refused a student grant, or that the rate of grant awarded is not the correct one, 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 may be submitted to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board within the required timeframe. Such appeals can be made by the appellant on line via www.studentgrantappeals.ie

Apart from the Student Grant Scheme, students in third-level institutions experiencing exceptional financial need can apply for support under the Student Assistance Fund. This Fund assists students, in a sensitive and compassionate manner, who might otherwise be unable to continue their third level studies due to their financial circumstances. Details of this fund are available from the Access Office in the third level institution attended. This fund is administered on a confidential, discretionary basis.