Improvements To Student Grant Scheme Announced

A series of improvements have been announced for the Student Grant Scheme 2016/17, by the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O'Sullivan.

The Minister's announcement coincides with SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) opening its online application system for grant applications for the 2016/17 academic year.

This year's scheme opened more than two weeks earlier than last year, the earliest ever opening of the scheme.

Minister O'Sullivan said: "The earlier opening date is positive news for students. It should lead to earlier decisions in respect of those students who submit their applications before the priority closing dates.

"In this regard I would encourage all prospective students to visit the SUSI website and review the eligibility criteria for student grant funding. Students who believe that they may be entitled to grant support should submit their applications before the priority closing dates so that they can benefit from earlier decisions and grant support".

SUSI anticipates that it will receive over 110,000 applications for the 2016/17 academic year. Some €380m will be invested in the scheme in 2016 and more than 80,000 students will benefit.

This year's scheme includes a number of improvements that are consistent with the National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education 2015–2019. This includes an extension to the qualifying criteria for receiving the special rate of maintenance grant and the inclusion of a number of additional income disregards.

The Minister also highlighted new benefits for 'second chance students'.

"The new scheme will support mature students who do not complete their programme in higher education to return to either further or higher education, after a break of five years, without incurring any financial penalties," the Minister said. "In previous years students who returned to further education having failed to complete a higher education course were penalised if they subsequently returned to higher education."


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