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Written Answers - Higher Education Grants

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 752 No. 2

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 98.  Deputy Pat Deering Information on Patrick Deering Zoom on Patrick Deering  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  if he will consider reviewing the criteria for third level grants in view of the fact that qualified persons now find themselves unemployed and who wish to reskill but the course they are considering is often at a similar or lower level than their existing qualifications which means they are ineligible for grant aid and must also give up their social welfare as they are no longer available for work. [3160/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn To satisfy the terms and conditions of the student grant scheme in relation to progression, a student must be moving from year to year within a course having successfully completed the previous year or be transferring from one course to another where the award for the subsequent course is of a higher level than the previous course.

The objective of this policy is to help as many students as possible to obtain one qualification at each level of study. Given the level of demand on the student grant budget from first time students and students that are progressing with their studies to a higher level, there are no plans at present to change the arrangements in place.

[330]The key objective of the Springboard higher education initiative introduced for the first time in 2011 was to support unemployed people, including graduates, to obtain new qualifications in areas of emerging skills needs. Programmes were offered on a flexible part time basis and participants were able to pursue a qualification at the same level or lower than their existing qualifications while continuing to receive Jobseekers Benefit or Allowance. The Springboard initiative will be further expanded in 2012.

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