Dáil Éireann - Volume 537 - 29 May, 2001
Written Answers. - EU Students.
Ms Fitzgerald Ms Fitzgerald
372. Ms Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason the definition of  EU student is based on residency as opposed to citizenship; and the reason university regulations are the exception, for example, the reason an Irish passport is not sufficient to qualify for EU fees when it qualifies one for work and taxes. [15529/01]
Dr. Woods Dr. Woods
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): The third level student support schemes and the free fees initiative contain provisions relating to residency and nationality.
Under the free fees criteria, tuition fees will be paid in respect of candidates who hold EU nationality or official refugee status, and who have been ordinarily resident in an EU member state for at least three of the five years preceding their entry to an approved third level course, subject to certain conditions. This condition applies equally to all EU nationals, including Irish nationals, in accordance with the judgment of the European Court of Justice that access to vocational training must apply equally to all EU nationals.
To be eligible for grant assistance under the terms of the third level student support schemes, a candidate must fulfil conditions as to age, residence, means and nationality. Under the nationality requirement a candidate must hold EU nationality, official refugee status or have been granted humanitarian leave to remain in the State. To fulfil the residency requirement, a candidate's parents or guardians or, in the case of an independent mature candidate, the candidate her/himself, shall have been resident in the State from 1 October of the year prior to entry on an approved course. The awarding body, a local authority or VEC, has discretion to waive this condition in exceptional circumstances.
With regard to the rate of tuition fees charged by the individual universities, where students are not eligible under the free fees initiative, such institutions are autonomous bodies and it is a matter for each university to define the category of students obliged to pay the non-EU rate of tuition fees.
Dáil Éireann 537 Written Answers. EU Students.