Plan to delay payment of Post Leaving grants will disappoint students, TUI president says

 

The Department of Education and Science has made it clear that all students on approved Post Leaving Certificate courses who fulfil the existing income requirements will receive the new PLC grants retrospectively.

A spokesman said the intention had always been to pay these retrospectively in December or early January to PLC students starting their courses in September. It is understood this was necessary to overcome the objections of the Minister for Finance to paying them in the current budgetary year.

The spokesman said the Minister for Education, Mr Martin, would announce the details of the scheme later this month. The income requirements for PLC grants will be the same as existing requirements for Higher Education Authority and VEC grants.

However, the TUI president, Mr Joe Carolan, said that due to the Minister's "initial confusing statements", there would be "a lot of disappointed and concerned students and parents" who had "anticipated that the grants would be payable in September and who cannot plan properly for the coming year".

Last week a Dublin Labour councillor, Mr Sean Kenny, said local authorities and VECs were telling students that "they have no information whatsoever on third level grants for PLC courses". The Department of Education was no more forthcoming with information, he said.

The Irish Vocational Education Association said it had been engaged in "intensive discussions" with the Department and the IMPACT trade union in order to agree on the "significant additional administrative arrangements" necessitated by the introduction of PLC grants.

"It is expected that an early finalisation of these discussions will enable the earlier commitment to have the first payments to students, which will be retrospective to September, made by VECs not later than December/January."