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Student Grant Scheme

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 26 November 2020

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Ceisteanna (320)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

320. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if the SUSI grant to graduate entry medical students will be extended given the considerable financial obstacles for many in pursuing this course of study; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39453/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Further and Higher Education)

Under the terms of the Student Grant Scheme, grant assistance is awarded to students attending an approved course in an approved institution who meet the prescribed conditions of funding, including those relating to nationality, residency, previous academic attainment and means.

To satisfy the terms and conditions of the Student Grant Scheme in relation to progression, a student must be moving from year to year within a course, having successfully completed the previous year or be transferring from one course to another where the award for the subsequent course is of a higher level than the previous course.

In general, under the progression/previous academic attainment criteria of the Student Grant Scheme, students cannot qualify for grant assistance or free tuition fees for a second period of study at the same level or for a different course at the same level, irrespective of whether or not a grant or tuition fees were paid previously.

The main objective of this policy is to assist as many students as possible to obtain one qualification at each level of study. The Scheme operates in the context of competing educational priorities and limited public funding.

To avail of the graduate entry route for medicine, a primary degree in another discipline is necessary. Accordingly such students are ineligible for grant assistance on the basis that they already hold an undergraduate degree.

However, institutions participating in the graduate medical programme have been requested to provide accompanying services and supports to facilitate the participation of disadvantaged students in the programme. Details of these services and supports are available from the relevant institution.

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. Information on the fund is available through the Access Officer in the third level institution attended. This fund is administered on a confidential, discretionary basis.

In addition, tax relief at the standard rate of tax may also be available in respect of tuition fees paid for approved courses at approved colleges of higher education. Further information on this tax relief is available from a student's local Tax Office or from the Revenue Commissioners website, www.revenue.ie

Question No. 321 answered with Question No. 318.
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