Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD has today (10 August) announced changes to the support scheme for students living in Direct Provision.
Following a review, Minister Harris confirmed the rules of the scheme will be relaxed and the scheme placed on a long term footing.
The scheme was introduced in 2015 and provides supports along similar lines to the current Student Grant Scheme (the SUSI scheme) to eligible applicants who are in the protection system and who are either:
subsidiary protection applicants
leave to remain applicants
The requirement for prospective applications to have attended three academic years in the Irish school system and to have obtained the Leaving Certificate in the State, will no longer be required. Prospective applicants will still have to meet the requirement to have been in the protection or leave to remain process for three years.
The Minister said:
"The government is committed to a new long-term approach to Direct Provision. This will take time to implement but in the meantime, we will continue to make improvements for residents in Direct Provision.
"Relaxing the criteria for the student support scheme will hopefully result in more people accessing third level education.
"This support scheme will also be put on a more long-term footing. I am acutely aware of the stress that students feel at this time and I hope that the changes that I have approved will address the fears of prospective applicants."
The closing date for 2020/21 applications is the 6th of November 2020. Any student who has already applied for support under the scheme, will have his/her application reviewed under the new more favourable conditions of the scheme.
Notes to the Editor:
The scheme has been altered in light of a review which indicated that a requirement to have been in school in Ireland for at least three years and to have completed the Leaving certificate was too restrictive.
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 revised 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 been accepted on an approved Post Leaving Certificate course or an approved undergraduate course
have been part of an application for protection or leave to remain for a combined period of 3 years as at 31 August 2020
have been resident in the State for a combined period of 3 years as at 31 August 2020
The Student Support Scheme is targeted at students in or having come through the protection system. There are three categories within this process. Two categories of students come under the protection process with a third category in the leave to remain process.
The three categories are as follows:
asylum applicants (protection process) – a person who has made an application for refugee status but where a determination has not been made
subsidiary protection applicants (protection process) – a person who has made an application for subsidiary protection but where a determination has not been made
leave to remain applicants – a person who has completed the protection process (that is, asylum or subsidiary protection) and whose eligibility for leave to remain has yet to be considered