Question to the Minister for Education and Science
Chun an Aire Oideachais agus Eolaíoctha
To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the level of funding provided to the student assistant fund; his plans to continue this important source of financial support for students; and if he will make a statement on the matter. -Jerry Buttimer, TD.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 27th November, 2012.
Reference Number: 52797/12
Minister Ruairí Quinn:
I propose to take questions 273, 280 and 308 together.
The objective of the Student Assistance Fund is to assist students, in a sensitive and compassionate manner, who might otherwise, due to their financial circumstances, be unable to continue their third level studies. The Fund is managed by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) on behalf of my Department and is funded under the National Development Plan, with assistance from the European Social Fund.
The budget for the Student Assistance Fund has been increased from €5m in 2008/09, 2009/10 and 2010/11 to €9m in 2011/12 and stands at €8m for the current academic year.
My Department has asked the HEA for an up to date report on the demand for the scheme. I have no plans at present to discontinue the Fund.
Examinations are taking place across all areas of Government spending which will inform funding allocations for the coming years. In this context, I am sure the Deputies will appreciate that in line with normal practice I am unable to comment on the available funding allocation for next year during the budgetary deliberative process.