Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Ceisteanna (598)

Cormac Devlin

Ceist:

598. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if he will consider approving institutions (details supplied) for the purposes of SUSI or the back to education schemes for mature students who would otherwise be eligible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7115/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Further and Higher Education)

Under the Department's student grant scheme, eligible applicants may receive funding provided they are attending an approved course at an approved institution as defined in the scheme. The definition of an approved institution is set out in Section 7 of the Student Support Act 2011 and Regulation 3 of the Student Support Regulations 2020.

The Deputy will be aware that I recently announced a review of the SUSI grant scheme. It is anticipated that this review will commence shortly and will report back to me in late 2021. It is intended that the future direction of the SUSI scheme will be guided by the outcome of the review.

It remains open to higher education institutions that operate on a 'for profit' basis to use their own resources to provide financial supports to any of their students that they consider to be in particular need.

Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) is administered by the Department of Social Protection (DSP). Further enquiries in respect of the BTEA should be referred to DSP.

There are other supports available to prospective mature students. For example, Springboard+ is a specific initiative that strategically targets funding of free part-time higher education courses to enable unemployed people to upskill or reskill in areas where there are identified labour market skills shortages or employment opportunities. It provides free or 90% funded upskilling and reskilling higher education opportunities in areas of identified skills needs. The courses, which are at Level 6 (Higher Certificate) to Level 9 (Master's Degree) on the National Framework of Qualifications, are being delivered in public and private higher education institutions around the country. Further information may be obtained from the website https://springboardcourses.ie/.

Tax relief at the standard rate of tax may be claimed in respect of tuition fees paid for approved courses at approved colleges of higher education including approved undergraduate and postgraduate courses in EU Member States and in non-EU countries. Further information on this tax relief is available from a student's local Tax office or from the Revenue Commissioners website www.revenue.ie