Tuesday, 7 February 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
508. Mr. O’Dowd asked the Minister for Education and Science if financial support is available to assist a person (details supplied) in County Louth who has returned to education; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4232/06]
Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): My Department funds three means-tested maintenance grant schemes for third level education students in respect of attendance on approved courses in approved third level institutions and one maintenance grant scheme in respect of students attending approved post-leaving certificate courses in approved PLC centres. These include the higher education grants scheme; the vocational education committees’ scholarship scheme; the third level maintenance grants scheme for trainees; and the maintenance grant scheme for students attending post-leaving certificate courses.
Under the terms of the maintenance grants scheme for post-leaving certificate courses 2005, grants are available to eligible candidates who are entering approved PLC courses for the first time in the 2005-06 academic year. Candidates are ineligible if they already hold a FETAC level 5 qualification, formerly known as a FETAC (NCVA) level 2 qualification, or FETAC level 6 qualification, formerly known as a FETAC (NCVA) level 3 qualification, or a third level qualification at level 6 or higher. However, notwithstanding this condition candidates who already hold a qualification no higher than a FETAC level 5, formerly known as a FETAC (NCVA) level 2 qualification, and are now pursuing a course that offers progression may be deemed eligible for grant aid.
The candidate to whom the Deputy refers already holds a diploma from UCD. As outlined above, the candidate is ineligible for grant assistance in respect of PLC course. I regret the news is not better in relation to this student, but you will appreciate that the terms of the schemes are of general application and it is not open to me or my Department to depart from the terms of the scheme and make exceptions in individual cases.
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