Dáil Éireann - Volume 495 - 14 October, 1998

Written Answers. - Higher Education Grants.

196. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will change the rules of higher education grant in order that persons aged under 23, who have their own children or who are estranged from their parents, will no longer be assessed automatically on their parents' income. [19767/98]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): The higher education grant schemes [509] operate under the Local Authorities (Higher Education Grants) Acts, 1968 to 1992.

In the case of students under 23 years of age, the Acts provide that grants are payable, inter alia, when the means of the student and the means of the students parents or guardians do not exceed such limits as may be prescribed from time to time. These provisions require that parental income be taken into account irrespective of the individual circumstances in any case where the student is not a mature student, i.e. aged 23 or over.

I appreciate the difficulties that these provisions can give rise to in individual cases, such as those outlined by the Deputy. However, the Deputy will appreciate that an alteration to the provisions would require amending legislation. I have asked my Department to keep this issue under review.