Supports to continue for asylum seeker students
2017-08-15 13:09:41 -

Plans to maintain student support being offered to asylum seekers in the State have been announced.


The decision to continue the Pilot Student Support Scheme for those in the direct provision system for the third year in a row was revealed recently by the Department of Education and Skills following a successful review of the 2016 scheme.


Introduced in 2015, the pilot scheme “provides supports in line with the current Student Grant Scheme to eligible school leavers who are in the protection system,” according to the department.


Speaking on the extension, Education Minister Richard Bruton said providing support to vulnerable members of the society is a key to the “ambition to make Ireland the best education service in Europe by 2026”.


The scheme does not, however, exempt those in direct provision from the fees payable by non-EEU students for third-level courses in Ireland - some of which total thousands of euro.


The minister added: “Currently, the Government funds a total of approximately €450m annually in access supports for students. This includes SUSI grants, new maintenance grants for postgraduate students and supports for students with disabilities.


“I am pleased to be in a position to announce the continuation of this pilot scheme for a third year. The scheme provides a valuable opportunity to eligible students to develop to their full potential.”


Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister of State for Higher Education, jointly unveiled the plan with Minister Bruton and urged “all prospective students who may be eligible for support to submit their applications, so that supports can be put in place early in the academic year.”


Applications for support, which opened on 10 August for the 2017 scheme, will close 2 November.


Applicants will be required to meet a number of criteria, such as having obtained a Leaving Certificate and being accepted on an approved PLC or undergraduate course, as well as “[meeting] the definition of a protection applicant or a person at leave to remain stage”.


Applicants must also “have attended a minimum of five academic years in the Irish school system, as at 31 August 2017; and have been part of an application for protection or leave to remain for a combined period of five years” as at the same date.


Information on how to apply is available from the Department of Education website at


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