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Review of student grants to examine support for people who move out of home for college

Grants for part time students and how Ireland compares internationally will also be examined.

Image: Shutterstock/trabantos

HIGHER EDUCATION MINISTER Simon Harris has announced that a review of the student grant scheme for third-level students has been approved by the Cabinet.

The review’s terms of reference include examining the value of the maintenance grants and income thresholds, the availability of grants for part-time students, adjacent and non-adjacent rates, supports for postgraduates and how Ireland compares against other jurisdictions.

“The student grant scheme opens the door for many people to access further and higher education. However, the scheme has remained static despite significant changes in Irish society in recent years,” Minister Harris said.

Harris said that the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to cause an increase in grant holders next year. The review will report back to the minister next summer and it will help inform decisions for the 2022 budget.

“I want this review to consider the current challenges facing students and to ascertain if the correct supports for eligible students are in place,” Harris added.

“It will look at whether the grant payments are sufficient in size and scale, how we can better support people who have to move out from home to go to college, whether part time students should be eligible for grant supports, and crucially how Ireland compares internationally.”

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Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) has received over 100,000 student grant applications for the 2020/21 academic year with over 77,500 students assessed as eligible for support.

Additional funding of €20 million was secured in Budget 2021 due to the extra demands caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Improved grant supports for postgraduate students was also secured in the budget and will be available to qualifying students from next September.

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Ceimin Burke

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