Student Support For Asylum Seekers To Continue

A grant support scheme for asylum seekers in third level education will continue for the next academic year, government has confirmed.

The Pilot Student Support Scheme was introduced in 2015 for prospective students who are in the international protection system. It provides aid in line with the current Student Grant Scheme to eligible school leavers who are asylum applicants, subsidiary protection applicants or leave to remain applicants.

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. together with the Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O'Connor T.D. opened the scheme for applications on Tuesday 04 June. The closing date is 01 November 2019.

A previous stipulation that applicants had to have been in school in Ireland for five years previous has been reduced to three, similar to the residency requirement of the statutory-based Student Grant Scheme.

Applicants in the protection system, who wish to be supported to pursue certain courses in further education or at undergraduate level in higher education, will be required to meet the following criteria:

• Meet the definition of a protection applicant or a person at leave to remain stage (other than those at the deportation order stage)

• Have obtained their Leaving Certificate

• Have been accepted on an approved post-leaving certificate course or an approved undergraduate course

• Have at least three academic years in the Irish school system by 31 August 2019

• Have been part of an application for protection or leave to remain for a combined period of three years as at 31 August 2019. 

Minister McHugh said: "I am pleased to be in a position to announce the continuation of this pilot scheme. We are opening the scheme in June to provide adequate time for prospective eligible applicants to apply and receive their supports in time for the start of the academic year. I encourage everyone who fulfils the criteria and is considering continuing their education to apply and gain the support they may need to access new opportunities for their future."

Minister Mitchell O'Connor added: "Following a review of the scheme, I am delighted to be able to announce a change to the residency criterion. Easing the requirement from five years to three years brings the Pilot Student Support Scheme more into line with the SUSI grant scheme and makes it easier for applicants to meet the eligibility criteria."

A further review of the programme will be carried out in 2020.

Applications and further information can be accessed here.


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