Student Grants

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A 26 year old County Galway woman got a shock this week when her application for a student grant as an independent mature student to help fund her return to further education was refused because she was not long enough in the work force.

Deputy Paul Connaughton said he found it hard to understand the rationale behind an educational system which publically promotes young people to involve themselves in further education to enhance their job prospects, but then erects road blocks which ensures that the so called available financial entitlements cannot be accessed.

“I have a primary degree after four years at University and I have worked every single day in low paid employment for the past two years and nine months and when I got the opportunity to do a Master’s Degree I gave up my job before seeking advice from SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) when I was informed over the phone that I should be eligible.  However, nobody told me that there is a stipulation that you must be three years out of college after getting your primary degree to qualify for the student grant as an independent mature student” said a very angry woman.  “I now find myself paying for a flat, having no income now that I have given up my full time job to study for a year long Master’s Degree and my small amount of savings will soon run out”.

Deputy Connaughton said he hoped that this particular stipulation will be changed for next year’s academic year as it is now a cornerstone of Government policy to get young people back to education in order to enhance their future job prospects.  Deputy Connaughton said he wanted to highlight this little known obnoxious rule so that others will not find themselves in a similar position.