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Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 26 November 2020

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Ceisteanna (318, 321)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

318. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science his plans to make the Covid-19 one-off emergency grant of €250 payment payable in cash to all third level students, given the exceptional circumstances experienced by all students; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39435/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

321. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the way in which the €250 one-off payment to students will be paid out to students who are not in receipt of a SUSI grant, have already fully paid their student contribution fees and are in their final year of study in order that they will not require a credit with their institutions for a following year of student contribution fees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39454/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Further and Higher Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 318 and 321 together.

In recognition of the challenges facing full time third level students the Government has approved once off funding of €50m to provide additional financial assistance in this academic year.

The funding, which was provided in Budget 2021 in recognition of the significant upheaval they have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will offer financial assistance to all EU full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students attending publicly funded Higher Education Institutions.

The scheme will be provided to students:

- Who avail of the SUSI grant will receive €250 top-up in their grant;

- Students who do not avail of the grant can reduce by €250 any outstanding contribution fee payments or receive a €250 credit note for their institution;

- In a small number of cases, alternative arrangements will be made for the payment of the monies to students.

Additionally Budget 2021 provides further funding to enhance SUSI grant supports for post-grads and increase support for the PATH access initiative, which seeks to increase participation in Higher Education from the most economically disadvantaged students.

This builds on the specific student supports in response to Covid, which I announced in July including the provision of additional student assistance including a doubling of the Student Assistance Fund, and a €15 million technology fund for devices for students in further and higher education to assist with difficulties in accessing technology to facilitate their course work in a blended capacity. These supports are being distributed through the colleges and further education providers.

Question No. 319 answered with Question No. 315.
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