Dáil Éireann - Volume 554 - 09 October, 2002
Written Answers. - Student Support Schemes.
Mr. G. Mitchell Mr. G. Mitchell
568. Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason local authorities, vocational education committees and others, were given a closing date of 10 August 2001 and 30 August 2002 for education grant approvals; the reason application forms were not available until such a late date; if his attention has been drawn to the difficulty this has created for applicants, especially mature students who do not apply through the CAO process, such as a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16010/02]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey)
 Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): My Department issued the 2002 schemes of student support to the awarding bodies – local authorities and vocational education committees – via electronic mail on 12 July 2002. Hard copies of the schemes were subsequently issued on 15 July 2002. The official closing date for applications, as prescribed in the schemes of student support, was 30 August 2002 as compared with a closing date of 10 August 2001 in respect of the 2001 schemes.
Significant amendments to the application form and notes booklet for applicants were required in view of the short, transitional tax period, April 2001 to December 2001. Also, the process of printing and subsequent delivery of the application forms took considerably longer than had been initially notified to the Department. When my Department became aware of the delay in the printing operation, the application form and notes booklet were issued to the awarding bodies via electronic mail, to allow the option of issuing forms as early as possible to prospective applicants. A hard copy of the material issued on the same day. My Department understands, however, that in most, if not all cases, the awarding bodies decided to await delivery of their printed orders.
As noted, the official closing date for applications as prescribed in the schemes of student support was 30 August 2002. The local authorities have discretion, however, to accept late applications and generally do so.
The awarding bodies process grant applications as speedily as possible and issue grant payments to eligible students as early as possible in the academic year. My Department understands that the student, referred to by the Deputy, has been awarded the full rate of maintenance grant by Dublin City Council, in respect of the 2002-03 academic year.
Dáil Éireann 554 Written Answers. Student Support Schemes.