To ask the Minister for Education and Science the situation regarding maintenance payments for the students studying at PhD level in the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – David Stanton.

* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 2nd April, 2009. Reference Number: 13957/09


Minister Batt O’Keeffe

The Third Level Student Support Schemes were extended to provide maintenance grants to eligible students pursuing approved full-time undergraduate courses of at least two years duration (pursued in a university or a third level institution which is maintained or assisted by recurrent grants from public funds) in other EU Member States with effect from the 1996/97 academic year. The extension of the Schemes at that time did not include courses at postgraduate level and, accordingly, there is no grant aid available under the schemes for students pursuing postgraduate studies outside of Ireland.

Any extension of the current arrangements to provide for students pursuing postgraduate courses outside of Ireland could only be considered in the light of available resources and other competing demands within the education sector. At present, there are no plans to expand the provisions in the grant schemes in relation to postgraduate study abroad.

However, Section 21 of the Finance Act 2000, as amended by Section 29 of the Finance Act 2001, provides for the introduction of tax relief for postgraduate tution fees paid in colleges outside of Ireland. This relief, which is available from the tax year 2000/01 onwards, applies at the standard rate of tax. Further details and conditions in relation to this tax relief are available from an individual’s Local Tax Office.


To ask the Minister for Education and Science if, under current legislation,  students who would normally qualify for full rate third level maintenance grants are entitled to receive the full rate of grant in addition to financial assistance from scholarships wholly or partly funded by public moneys, such as the recently announced All Ireland Scholarships; if not, if he is proposing to make changes to this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – David Stanton.

* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 8th May, 2008.

Reference Number: 17769/08


Minister for Education and Science (Batt O’Keeffe, T.D.)

By reference to clause 2.2 of the Higher Education Grants Scheme and clause 2.1 of the Vocational Education Committees’ Scholarship Scheme, a candidate is not eligible to hold a grant if she/he holds:

(i) a scholarship/grant awarded by another Local Authority, a Vocational Educational Committee or the Department of Education, or

(ii) any other award payable from public funds, or

(iii) the equivalent of (i) or (ii) from another E.U. Member State.

The provisions at (ii) or (iii) do not include awards such as scholarships, prizes or bursaries, made by the institution being attended or postgraduate research grants where the grant received does not exceed a specified amount, which for the 2007/08 academic year, is specified to be €16,000. In addition  the provision at (ii) does not include awards to candidates under the Student Assistant Fund, the Millennium Partnership Fund and the Fund for Students with Disabilities.

If eligible a holder of the following scholarships may also hold a maintenance grant:-

(1) Easter Week Scholarship

(2) Donagh O’Malley Scholarship

The All Ireland Scholarship Scheme was announced in March of this year and will only take effect for students sitting the 2008 Leaving Certificate examination. The new All Ireland Scholarship Scheme is only open to those who qualify and are in receipt of the maintenance grant.

Uimhir:1074, * For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 30th January, 2008.

To ask the Minister for Education and Science the maximum amount of holiday earnings which a third level student can earn before affecting the amount of higher education grant for which they will be eligible; when this amount was last raised; and if she will make a statement on the matter. – David Stanton.


Minister for Education and Science (Mary Hanafin, T.D.)

The assessment of means under my Department ‘s third level student support schemes is based on gross income from all sources of the candidate and his/her parents/guardians, where applicable, with certain social welfare and health service executive payments being exempt.

Clause 13 of the Higher Education Grant Scheme deals with the declaration of income and other information. The clause includes the following: –

“A declaration of reckonable income shall be made by the candidate and the candidate’s parents or guardians or, in the case of an independent mature candidate, by the candidate and the candidate’s spouse, if applicable, and they shall submit to the Local Authority such information and documentation as may be required by it to process the application in full. It will be the responsibility of candidates to ensure that the statement of income and other details sought is full and complete in every respect. If a candidate’s failure to provide this full and complete information be the result of a deliberate material omission or inaccuracy, the candidate(s) shall be liable to prosecution, loss of grant and repayment, with interest, of any portion of a grant already received.”

It is necessary, therefore, that information regarding all income, including that from after school/weekend employment, is accounted for when completing the grant application form. However, in the assessment of means, allowance is made for “holiday earnings” on the part of the candidate. Under the terms of the Schemes holiday earnings are considered as a candidate’s reasonable earnings from employment outside of term time. At present holiday earnings of up to €3,810 are excluded in the calculation of reckonable income for grant purposes. This threshold is currently under review, together with the overall income eligibility thresholds and rates of grant, as part of the annual review of student grants schemes undertaken by my Department