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Written Answers. - Student Support Schemes.

Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 559 No. 6

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[1504]

 61. Mr. M. Higgins Information on Michael D. Higgins Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey  the terms of reference of the review of student support provisions he has commissioned; the person by whom the review is being undertaken; when its results are expected to be available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26696/02]

 63. Mr. M. Higgins Information on Michael D. Higgins Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey  the proposals he is considering which would require students attending third level institutions to take out repayable loans to pay for tuition costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26697/02]

 82. Ms Enright Information on Olwyn Enright Zoom on Olwyn Enright  asked the Minister for Education and Science Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey  his plans to introduce a loan scheme for third level students; if he has sought a report on the issue; when it will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26587/02]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): Information on Noel Dempsey Zoom on Noel Dempsey I propose to take Questions Nos. 61, 63 and 82 together.

A review of student support provisions is under way with the aim of ensuring that the benefits of the substantial investment being made are maximised in accordance with the following terms of reference:

To review the present system of tuition fees and student supports, having regard to international experience, in order to provide options for the Minister's consideration with a view to ensuring greater equity in access to and participation in higher education.

This review will cover a broad range of topics relating to the schemes of student support including the level of maintenance grants, eligibility, income limits with respect to the grants, the free fees initiative and will consider various options taking into account international experiences in this field, including the issue of loans. Officials of my Department are conducting the review. Some issues require the engagement of external expertise. In this regard, the Economic and Social Research Institute is undertaking work on a number of issues relevant to the review. Relevant recently published reports will also inform the work of the review group. It is anticipated that the review will be completed in time to give sufficient notice of decisions which will impact on students intending to enter third level education in the 2003-2004 academic year.


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