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Written Answers - Higher Education Grants

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 201. Deputy Peter Mathews Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the options available [370]for furthering their education in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23642/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn Under my Department’s Free Fees Scheme, students who have previously pursued but have not completed a course of third level study and subsequently resume third level studies are not eligible for free fees for the equivalent period of time spent on the first course of study where the third level course concerned attracted exchequer funding. In such cases exchequer funding includes fees, maintenance, tax relief, subsidy towards course cost etc. Where undergraduate students do not meet the eligibility criteria of the Scheme such students must pay the appropriate tuition fee as determined by the relevant third level institution.

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.

I would advise the student in question to apply to his local grant awarding body to establish his eligibility or otherwise for a grant.

Section 473A, Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, as amended by Section 11 of the Finance Act 2011, provides for tax relief, at the standard rate of tax, for tuition fees paid in respect of approved courses at approved colleges of higher education including certain approved undergraduate and postgraduate courses in EU Member States and in non EU countries. Details are available on the Revenue Commissioners’ website at

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