Dáil Éireann - Volume 508 - 29 September, 1999
Written Answers. - Higher Education Grants.
Mr. O'Shea Mr. O'Shea
907. Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Education and Science the proposals, if any, he has to base income eligibility criteria for third level grants on net income rather than gross income; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18028/99]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): The assessment of means under the third level student support schemes maintenance grants scheme is based on gross income with certain deductions for specified social welfare and health board payments. Any proposal to move to a means assessment system based on net income would have significant financial implications in addition to equity issues which would have to be addressed.
It has been the practice in recent years to increase the reckonable income limits in line with movements in the average industrial wage. The figures are provided by the Central Statistics Office and are computed in each case to March of the previous year. The average industrial wage increase for the period March 1997 to March 1998 was 4.6 per cent. The reckonable income limits for the 1999-2000 academic year were therefore increased by 4.6 per cent.
The increase in the reckonable income limits was also applied to the allowance by which the income limits may be increased in respect of other family members pursuing a course of study. In such cases, for the 1999-2000 academic year, the reckonable income limits may be increased by £2,160 where there are two such children, £4,320 where there are three, and so on by increments of £2,160.
Dáil Éireann 508 Written Answers. Higher Education Grants.