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Further and Higher Education

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 5 April 2022

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Ceisteanna (570)

Cathal Crowe

Ceist:

570. Deputy Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if he will intervene in the case of a person (details supplied) regarding a SUSI grant issue. [18384/22]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Further and Higher 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.

A student may be assessed as an independent student (i.e. assessed without reference to parental income and address) if he/she has attained the age of 23 on the 1st of January of the year of first entry to an approved course, and is not ordinarily resident with his/her parents from the previous 1st October. Otherwise, he/she would be assessed as a dependent student, i.e. assessed with reference to parental income and address.

A student’s status for grant purposes is defined at their first point of entry to an approved further or higher education course or at their point of re-entry to an approved course following a break in studies of at least three years, and continues to apply for the duration of their studies.

However, there are points at which a student may reclassify from a dependent student to an independent student. These are where he/she:

- Progresses from further education to higher education.

- Is returning following a 3 year break in studies.

- Is returning as a "second chance" student after a five year break in studies.

The decision on eligibility for student grant applications is a matter for the centralised grant awarding authority, SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland).

Applicants who do not meet the criteria to be assessed as an independent student for grant purposes, or who cannot supply the necessary documentation to establish independent living for the required period, may still apply to SUSI to have their grant eligibility assessed as a dependent student. The relevant information, including details of parental income, would be required by SUSI to determine grant eligibility as a dependent student.

With regard to the specific application, I have been advised by my officials that the student has exhausted the appeals process. His appeal was heard by the independent Student Grant Appeals Board on 25 January 2022 and the outcome was issued directly to him.

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.

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