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Written Answers - Student Support Schemes

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 752 No. 2

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 50.  Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  his views on the possible impact of abolishing postgraduate grants on his areas of responsibility such as promoting innovation, research, enterprise, investment and job creation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36054/11]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn While the areas of responsibility referred to are a matter for my colleague the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, student supports come under my remit. I appreciate the Deputy’s concerns. However, this Government has had to take difficult and unpalatable decisions under Budget 2012. For this reason, unfortunately, less support will be available to some students going to college from next September.

While we have had to scale back the support for postgraduates, we are prioritising funding for the most disadvantaged students in this cohort. In this regard, though maintenance support will not be available, new students on the lowest income entering postgraduate courses from the 2012/13 academic year who meet the qualifying conditions for the special rate of grant will be eligible to have tuition fees paid up to the maximum fee limit under the Student Grant Scheme.

A limited number of other low-income students who would previously have qualified under the standard grant thresholds will qualify to have a €2,000 contribution made towards the costs of their fees.

The approach now being taken will continue to provide support for a relatively wide number of post-graduate students.

In addition to this, the Student Assistance Fund will continue to be made available through the access offices of third-level institutions to assist students in exceptional financial need. Tax relief is also available on postgraduate tuition fees.

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