Students living in direct provision will no longer have to pay international fees for post-Leaving Cert courses under new plans announced by the Government on Thursday.
Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris and Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman also said that the Government is examining extending the student support scheme – which is similar to the Susi grant scheme – to students in direct provision who want to undertake postgraduate courses.
These students can currently access this scheme for undergraduate courses. Mr Harris said in order to help people in direct provision fully integrate into society there would also be more English language courses from the start of the academic year.
Mr Harris said he wanted to “ensure there are no barriers for people living in direct provision to accessing third level”.
The measures will cost an estimated €10 million, he said.
“Last year, we removed some of the obstacles to the student support scheme which led to a fivefold increase in the number of applications and grant holders. I am planning to undertake a further review of the scheme in 2021.
“The waiving of the international fee for PLCs will move further towards a level-playing field and improve opportunities for people.
“I will now ask my officials to consider if there are any further financial barriers impacting on access to third-level education for those in the international protection system provision that can be removed.”
Mr O’Gorman said the Government had made a commitment to introduce a new model of international protection that “focuses on integration from day one”.