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Written Answers. - Third Level Fees.

Thursday, 17 October 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 555 No. 4

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 97. Ms Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey  if he will review the operation of the third level grants and free fees systems to allow a second and final chance for students who switch courses after their first year to avail of these schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18737/02]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey In general, under the terms of my Department's higher education grants schemes, vocational education committees' scholarships scheme and free fees initiative a student will not receive grant aid or free fees for a second period of study at the same level, except in the case of second chance students returning after a break of at least five years or in exceptional circumstances such as certified serious illness. Grant aid and free fees may, however, be continued once the equivalent period of time spent on the original course has elapsed.

However, the third level maintenance grants scheme for trainees, which applies to approved national certificate and national diploma courses in the institutes of technology, provides that, subject to a maximum duration of four years in all, where students have passed, failed or not completed the first year of a course, they may transfer to a different course and receive a grant for the normal duration of the new course. Equally, the regulations governing the courses to which the grants scheme for trainees applies, extends the free tuition provision to cases where a student has passed, failed or not completed the first year of a course and transfers to a different course.

The issue in question will be considered in the context of the review of student support pro[1191] visions, which my Department is at present carrying out.

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