Ministers McHugh and Mitchell O’Connor announce the opening of the Student Grant Scheme for 2019
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The Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh TD, and Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, today announced the opening of the Student Grant Scheme for applications for the 2019/20 academic year and highlighted a number of improvements that will benefit some of the most disadvantaged students.
The announcement coincides with SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) opening its online system for student grant applications for the 2019/20 academic year.
SUSI processed approximately 99,000 grant applications in the 2018/19 academic year, with almost 80,000 applicants assessed as eligible for grant support. It is anticipated that a similar number will apply for grant support for the 2019/20 academic year.
Over €400m has been allocated in 2019 for access measures in further and higher education. This includes various targeted supports under the National Access Plan (2015-2019) and circa €370m for student grants.
Some of the key changes to the student grant scheme in 2019 include two additional income disregards and an increase in the reckonable income threshold for the special rate of maintenance grant.
Minister McHugh said:
“I am pleased that the SUSI online application process is now open for the 2019/20 academic year. Irish students wishing to study in the UK and UK nationals wishing to take up studies in Ireland remain eligible for grant support. This is a key commitment that Minister Mitchell O’Connor and I have given for the 2019/20 academic year."
“It is important that students have this clarity, irrespective of the outcome of Brexit negotiations. We are working to bring longer term clarity for student mobility between Ireland and the UK under the Common Travel Area and hope to have this finalised in the coming weeks.”
Minister Mitchell O’Connor said:
“The SUSI grant is a hugely important support to our students, enabling almost 80,000 students annually to have a rich learning experience in further and higher education. The changes in reckonable income threshold for the special rate of maintenance grant, and additions to the income disregard system are part of our commitment on access to higher education."
“I encourage students who think they might be eligible for support, to submit their online student grant applications to SUSI without delay; to ensure that they are processed as quickly as possible.”
The priority closing dates for the 2019/20 scheme are the 13th of June 2019 for renewal applicants and the 11th of July 2019 for new applicants.
The main changes for the 2019 Scheme and Regulations are as follows:
The following are included as income disregards for the purposes of calculating reckonable income:
The income threshold for the special rate of grant is aligned with the highest rate of social welfare support (the Old Age Contributory Pension) so as to ensure that students from families dependent on welfare will continue to be eligible for the special rate of grant. The threshold has been increased from €23,500 to €24,000 for the 2019 scheme. This reflects the Budget 2018 increase to the maximum point of the weekly Old Age Contributory Pension, plus maximum Qualified Adult Allowance for a person over 66 years.
For more information please also see gov.ie/brexit.