Written Answers. - Third Level Education Grants.

Wednesday, 31 January 1990

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 395 No. 1

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  53.  Mr. Taylor  Information on Mervyn Taylor  Zoom on Mervyn Taylor   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke   the grants which are available to students at third level colleges; the basis on which such grants are administered; if she is satisfied with the level of grants available; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Education (Mrs. O'Rourke): Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  The information requested by the Deputy is as follows:

1. The principal schemes of direct assistance for students pursuing courses of third-level education are:

(a) (i) The higher education grants scheme administered by the county councils and county borough corporations.

(ii) Scheme of scholarships administered by the Vocational Education Committees for students wishing to pursue courses in regional technical colleges, colleges of technology and other approved institutions of third level education. In order to qualify for a grant or scholarship under these schemes a candidate must, inter alia, obtain prescribed successes in the leaving certificate examination of the Department of Education and comply with the means test provisions laid down in the schemes. The same benefits are payable under both schemes.

(b) The EC training grants scheme administered by the regional technical colleges and colleges of technology in respect of certain courses in those colleges. There is no means test prescribed in the scheme. Trainees have [122] their course fees paid and, in addition, they are paid a maintenance training grant.

2. A special scheme of assistance, broadly similar to the higher education grants scheme, is operated by the Department for students in Thomond College, Limerick for teachers of physical education, metalwork and engineering science, woodwork and building science and rural/general science.

3. The Department awards scholarships under the following three schemes on the results of the leaving certificate examination:

(a) Scheme of scholarships for students from the Gaeltacht.

(b) Scheme of scholarships for students pursuing third level courses through Irish.

(c) Easter Week 1916 Commemoration scholarships.

4. (a) Grants scheme for mature women students:

Each applicant must be female and aged 25 years or over on or before the closing date for receipt of application.

be unwaged or on a low income;

be participating in an approved undergraduate degree, diploma or certificate course to the extent that she has completed at least one year of the course;

not be in receipt of a grant, scholarship or funding from any other source;

furnish a letter from the relevant college authorities confirming (a) her success in the previous academic year examinations (b) that she has re-enrolled for the academic year and (c) that she is not, to their knowledge, in receipt of a grant, scholarship or funding from any other source;

provide information on the [123] financial circumstances of the household/individual.

furnish details on educational qualifications.

(b) Fifteen grants are awarded annually under the scheme.

5. Since 1985, the amount payable under various schemes of financial assistance in respect of fees and maintenance have increased each year in line with tuition fees charged by colleges and with inflation. These improvements in the provision of financial support for third level students have taken place during a period of budgetary constraint.

6. In the 1989-90 academic year, it is estimated that the percentage of third level students in receipt of financial assistance is in excess of 50 per cent.

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