Dáil Éireann - Volume 623 - 06 July, 2006
Written Answers. - Higher Education Grants.
Mr. Kenny Mr. Kenny
Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway has been deemed ineligible for a higher education grant in respect of their course in human rights law run by the National University of Ireland, Galway in conjunction with Queens University Belfast; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27356/06]
Ms Hanafin Ms Hanafin
Ms Hanafin: The three Third Level Student Support Schemes, administered by the Local Authorities and the Vocational Education Committees on behalf of my Department, offer financial assistance to eligible students attending approved third level courses. Students entering approved courses for the first time are, generally speaking, eligible for grants where they satisfy the relevant conditions as to age, residence, means and nationality.
Under the Free Fees Initiative, my Department meets the tuition fees of eligible students who are attending full-time undergraduate courses in the  State, which must be of at least two years duration, at an approved college. Where a candidate is pursuing an approved course at Postgraduate level in an institution listed as an approved institution for the purpose of my Department’s Higher Education Grant Scheme and VEC Scholarship Scheme the Awarding Body may award a full or part grant in respect of the candidate’s lecture fee subject to the terms of the Scheme.
My Department has examined the details of the course which the person is attending to determine whether or not an application could be considered for assistance under the 2005 Higher Education Grant Scheme.
My Department is aware that the first semester of the LLM Human Rights Cross Border course is completed in Queen’s University, the second in NUI Galway and the third can be spent in either Queen’s University or NUIG. The person the deputy refers to chose to remain in NUIG for the third semester. However, my Department understands that all fees are paid to Queen’s University who in turn make a payment to NUIG in respect of the period of study there.
The residency requirement, under the prescribed provisions of the 2005 Higher Education Grant Scheme, requires in the case of an independent mature candidate the candidate to have been ordinarily resident in the administrative area of the Local Authority from the 1st October 2004. The person to whom the Deputy refers has confirmed to my Department and to Galway County Council that she resided in Scotland for the past number of years. Accordingly she is not eligible to be considered for a Higher Education maintenance grant in the state.
The particular clause which applies in this case is Clause 4.1.2 of the 2005 Higher Education Grant Scheme which states as follows: “Candidates who are E.U. nationals and who do not satisfy the residency requirement are eligible to apply for a means-tested fees only grant in respect of approved courses in the Republic of Ireland, provided they have been ordinarily resident, for a purpose other than wholly or mainly to receive full-time education, in an E.U. Member State from 1 October, 2004. Such candidates shall apply to the Local Authority in which the college they propose to attend is situated.”
As the course is effectively a Queen’s University, Belfast course, to which the fees are payable, it does not meet the criteria of an approved course in this state for the purposes of Clause 4.1.2.
Dáil Éireann 623 Written Answers. Higher Education Grants.