12 March 2021
By Bryan Smyth
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West, Aindrias Moynihan is calling for urgency in progressing much needed changes in the Student Grant Scheme – or SUSI grant – especially around the income bands as they currently stand.
Deputy Moynihan commented, “Minister Harris announced the start of a public consultation on the review of the Student Grant Scheme this week. I raised this issue in the Dáil directly with him on Wednesday and I have asked him what progress has been made on the review of the SUSI scheme, the changes that have been identified and if the new criteria for the scheme will be available to students making their applications in 2021.”
The Cork North West TD added: “The accommodation allowance payment needs to be realistic given the high rental costs to students. The non-adjacent rate needs to recognise the reality that in most rural communities there is no public service, and under the current system a person living on top of the Boggera Mountains, 40km out from Cork colleges, is deemed under the adjacent rate and only gets the reduced rate. There is no bus service or easy access to college for these students!”
“The reality is that the current system needs to be drastically overhauled to reflect the true living realities of students today.”
The review of the Student Grant Scheme has just commenced and is due to report in Summer 2021. Stakeholders in the student grant system will be invited to provide contributions via a formal submission process in the coming weeks.
Apart from the Student Grant Scheme, students in third-level institutions experiencing exceptional financial need can apply for support under the Student Assistance Fund.
This Fund assists students, in a sensitive and compassionate manner, who might otherwise be unable to continue their third level studies due to their financial circumstances.
Information on the fund is available through the Access Office in the third level institution attended and is administered on a confidential discretionary basis.
In addition, tax relief at the standard rate of tax may also be available in respect of tuition fees paid for approved courses at approved colleges of higher education. Further information on this tax relief is available from a student’s local Tax Office or from the Revenue Commissioners website, www.revenue.ie