Review to examine availability of grants for part-time third-level students

Simon Harris confirms review of student grant scheme has been approved

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris said the review would consider the current challenges facing students and find out what could be done better. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris said the review would consider the current challenges facing students and find out what could be done better. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

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A review of the student grant scheme for third-level students has been approved by the Cabinet, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, has said.

The terms of reference for the review include examining the value of the maintenance grants and the income thresholds, the availability of grants for part-time students, supports for postgraduates and how Ireland compares against other jurisdictions.

“The student grant scheme opens the door for many people to access further and higher education, Mr Harris said.

“However, the scheme has remained static despite significant changes in Irish society in recent years. We are likely to see an increase in grant holders next year as a result of the pandemic.

“The review is to consider the current challenges facing students and find out what can be done better,” he said.

It is to report back to him in the summer of 2021 to help inform decisions in the context of Budget 2022.

Student Universal Support Ireland (Susi) is the grant-awarding authority for student grants. Susi entered its ninth year of operations in the academic year 2020-2021.

To date it has received more than 100,000 student grant applications for the 2020-2021 academic year, with more than 77,500 students assessed as eligible for support.

In the context of the increased demands on the scheme as a consequence of Covid-19, additional funding of €20 million was secured in Budget 2021.

The grant scheme provides for fee and maintenance grants to students who meet the qualifying criteria such as means, residency, nationality and progression.